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An ancient crab that lived during the dinosaur age was so strange, paleontologists are calling it the platypus of the crab world.
This newly discovered critter — named Callichimaera perplexa, which means "perplexing beautiful chimera" — had a hodgepodge of body parts. That name references the mythical chimera from Greek mythology, which had a lion's head, a goat's body and a snake's tail.
Eyes - Luque - Live - Science - Little
"[It had] huge, enormous eyes," Luque told Live Science. "They're like Little Red Riding Hood [when she asks the wolf], 'What big eyes you have. What do you use them for?'"
In this case, C. perplexa likely used its large eyes, not to mention its powerful claws, to hunt tiny crustaceans, such as comma shrimp. "We don't think they were filter feeders," Luque said. "We think they were actually active predators."
Illustration - Callichimaera - Perplexa - Crab
Here is an illustration of Callichimaera perplexa, quite possibly the strangest looking crab that ever lived.
Luque made the first discovery of C. perplexa remains in 2005 while hunting for fossils as an undergraduate student in Pesca, a town high in the Colombian Andes Mountains. "They were leggy-looking things," he said. "It looked like a crab, but I thought it was more like a spider."
Study - Critter - Crab
After much study, he found that the critter was a weird, quarter-size crab that lived about 95...
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