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evolution is weird
April 24, 2019

Scientists have found a creature so strange that "perplexing" is literally part of its name.

The new species Callichimaera perplexa, literally translated to "perplexing beautiful chimaera," is a pretty good description of what this new find is. The aquatic creature is an ancient crab, thought to have lived about 95 million years ago, but its unusual bodily makeup reminded the researchers who discovered it of a chimaera, the Greek mythological creature known for being a mash-up of various different animals.

A team of scientists, led by palaeontologist Javier Luque, made their discovery in Colombia by finding new fossils that have revealed a whole new branch on the evolutionary tree. Callichimaera perplexa has been described as "the strangest crab that has ever lived," but the importance of these findings goes beyond the creature's bizarre looks, the Independent explained.

The fossils were so well-preserved that the scientists were able to see an incredible level of detail, including "paddle-like legs and large eyes." This hints that these ancient crabs lived their lives swimming instead of crawling, and likely developed the ability to hunt for prey at night. Overall, the discovery is making everyone reconsider "what makes a crab a crab," said Luque.

The research, published on Wednesday in Science Advances, offers a look at the fossil specimens that were found, as well as a 3-D model that scientists were able to reconstruct from what they gathered. Learn more at the Independent. Shivani Ishwar

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