Artistic reconstruction of Callichimaera perplexa. (Elissa Martin / Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History)
Scientists have discovered a new species of crab that swam the sea 95 million years ago.
The small crab in the pocket format Callichimaera perplexa was very different from its modern cousin. This crab had a tiny, lobster-like shell, legs that were like oars, and huge pound puppets sticking out of their heads that, the researchers say, show that the creature actively used their eyes for everything it needed to live on ,  But it's not just the comic look of the animal that has tickled some researchers, but also what the ancient animal means to science. Javier Luque, a post-doc paleontologist at Yale University and the University of Alberta, said the "cute" and "unusual" decapod shellfish will make scientists "rethink what a crab is."
"They provide information on how new body shapes can evolve over time," Luque said on Thursday in an interview with The Washington Post.
. Luque said he made the discovery in 2005 in the mountains of Pesca, Boyaca, in Colombia. Luque, who was a geology student at the time, said he was looking for fossils when he discovered a plethora of crustacean specimens – shrimp, lobster, and crabs with big, bulbous eyes.
Luque and his research team have done this studied the well-preserved fossils from Colombia and the United States and published their findings on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. The research provides insight into a creature so peculiar that, according to a press release, it is referred to as the "duckbill of the crab world."
So what do we know about this wide-eyed animal?
The crab lived in the middle of the Cretaceous – when dinosaurs dominated the earth, landmasses were in motion and the oceans took shape. And based on the location of the fossils, it lived in Colombia, North Africa and the United States, more specifically in Wyoming.
His name Callichimaera perplexa means "amazing beautiful chimera", an allusion to a Greek mythological creature that had body parts from various animals. Makes sense. Luque said the researchers believe the crab has a "mosaic of body parts," including unprotected compound eyes, a spindle-shaped body, and leg-like mouthparts, suggesting that larval features persist into adulthood.
The body of the crab was about the size of a quarter of a coin.
His eyes were so big that if they had been human, they would have eyeballs the size of footballs.
Her legs were built for swimming rather than crawling.
-like claws made him a mighty little hunter.
And if the crab had been around 95 million years old, she would probably have come to Hollywood.
Luque, the lead author of the study, told Live Science "I call it my beautiful nightmare because it was so beautiful and frustrating" for the researchers to understand.
Heather Bracken-Grissom, an evolutionary biologist at Florida Internal University specializing in decapods, said more than 7,000 crab species live today.
This "bizarre discovery" will allow scientists to reevaluate their knowledge of them.
"This new transitional fossil allows us to rethink how crabs have evolved over time because it introduces this unique body shape that we did not know about before," said Bracken-Grissom of the Washington Post. She said it reveals "an early line in the crab tree of life".
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and will be released from a syndicated feed.)
Find the latest Election News, Live Updates, and Election Schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 They at ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram to receive updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats of the 2019 Indian Parliamentary Elections.