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Callichimaera perplexa, the strangest crab that ever lived



The prehistoric crab dates back to 95 million years ago, and scientists say it defies all normal crab traits. The new species, Callichimaera perplexa, has curved claws, large eyes without sockets, an exposed tail and mouth-like mouth parts.

"We started to look at these fossils and found that they had the eyes of a larva, the mouth of a shrimp, a crab crab and the shell of a lobster," said paleontologist Javier Luque at the University of Alberta and Yale University in a statement from the University of Alberta. "We have an idea of ​​what a typical crab looks like – and these new fossils break all these rules."
  A fossilized specimen of the new creature.

Because not to do justice to the body parts, it was only fitting that the new species be named after a chimera: a mythological creature that has a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. The full name of the new crab, Callichimaera perplexa, means "amazing beautiful chimera". With those unusual legs, Luque said he believes the creature lived in the water and swam more than crawling ashore.

"Callichimaera perplexa is so unique and alien that it can be considered a platypus of the crab world," Luque said in a Yale press release. "Usually we think of crabs as big animals with wide carapaces, powerful claws, small eyes in long eye stems, and a small tail tucked under the body." Well, Callichimaera resists all these & crabby & # 39; and forces a rethinking of our definition of what makes a crab a crab? "

Luque led an international research team that found 2005 the fossilized crabs, which were no larger than a quarter, in the Andes in Colombia. Over the next few years, researchers found more than 70 specimens of prehistoric crabs, including babies and adults. Some were discovered in Wyoming.

A study of the team's findings was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

"This mid-Cretaceous discovery shows that there are still surprising discoveries of newer, weird organisms that can be found in the tropics right now?"


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