The small, pocket-sized crab, named  Callichimaera perplexa The small, pocket-sized crab, named
]which is different than its modern cousins.
This crab sported a tiny lobster-esque shell, with legs flattened like oars, and huge Pound Puppies-style peepers that protruded from its head – a trait that did not show it.
 [Daniel Ocampo R, Vencejo Films]
Javier Luque, a postdoctoral paleontologist at Yale University and the University of Alberta, said the "cute," "unusual" decapod crustacean wants to make scientists "rethink what a crab is."
"It gives the information about how novel body forms can evolve over time, "Luque said Thursday in an interview with The Washington Post.
Luque said he made the discovery in 2005 at the mountains in Pesca, Colombia. An undergraduate geology student at the time, Luque said he was hunting for fossils when he uncovered a trove of well-preserved fossil specimens – shrimp, lobsters and crabs with big, bulbous eyes.
He and his research team, who have been Fossils found in Colombia, as well as Fossils found in the United States, published their findings [in the journal] Science Advances.
The research provides insight into a creature so it has dubbed "The Platypus of the Crab World," according to a news release.
So what do we know about this wide-eyed critter?
The crab lived during the mid-Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, landmasses were in motion and the oceans were taking shape.
Its name, Callichimaera perplexa, Means "perplexing beautiful chimera," with allusion to a Greek mythological hybrid creature being composed of multiple parts of animals.
Makes sense. Luque said researchers believed the crab had a "mosaic of body parts," including unprotected compound eyes, a spindle-shaped body, and leg-like mouth parts that suggest it retained larval traits into adulthood.
The crab's body was about the size of a quarter.
Its legs were built for swimming, not crawling.
It's a powerful little hunter.
And had the crab lived another million years or so,
Luque, the lead author of the study Heather Bracken-Grissom, an evolutionary biologist at Florida International University who specializes in decapods – crustaceans such as crabs, said Live Science, "I call it my beautiful nightmare because it's so beautiful and frustrating."
or lobsters – said there are more than 7,000 species of crab living today.
This "bizarre find," she said, wants to allow scientists to reevaluate what they know about them.
"This new transitional fossil is making us rethink "Bracken-Grissom told The Post."
She said it reveals "an early lineage in the crab tree of life."  2019 © The Washin gton Post
This article was originally published by The Washington Post .