A Shrimp Fossil Could Change What We Know About Evolution
The oceans of the world were filled with an assortment of interesting creatures that evolved into many modern creatures. Some of them become crustaceans, while others turned into arachnids and even insects.
More than 500 million years ago, the creatures of the Cambrian era had looks that would be quite unusual. For example, Opabinia sported five eyes that were present on top of stalks while its mouth was similar to the trunk of an elephant. The Radiodonta species preyed on smaller creatures with the help of special appendages that featured spikes that could pierce easily through flesh.
Researchers have managed to identify the fossil of a small, shrimp-like creature that features the traits mentioned above along with some additional ones, including sharp talons. It also appears to have had a strong shell that kept it safe in the face of most predators thanks to a shielded head and the segmented body.
According to the authors of a new study, the enigmatic creature could offer more information about the way in which arthropods have evolved and the way in which certain traits can be encountered in modern creatures.
A proper name
The team decided to call the new shrimp Kylinxia zhanhi, with the first part of the name being inspired by a legendary chimera from Chinese mythology. Its unusual body can be interpreted as a crossroad moment in its evolution, with the creature being a transition species that can offer more than about other species who lived within the same timeframe.
A novel technique known as phylogenic analysis known as the phylogenetic analysis was used to explore the genetic legacy of the shrimp. The method takes into consideration several traits of a creature to explore its potential evolutionary paths and genetic legacy.
The results have been published in a scientific journal.