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520 million year old monster found

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  • 520 million year old monster found

    Not really a monster, but an odd beast that contributes to our knowledge of early evolution at that time.


    Three-Eyed “Fossil Monster” – 520 Million-Year-Old Fossil Reveals Amazing Detail of Early Animal Evolution


    Artistic reconstruction of Kylinxia. Credit: X. Wang
    Researchers from the University of Leicester and the Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology employed advanced scanning technology to recreate a ‘fossil monster’ that lived half a billion years ago.

    A collaborative team involving researchers from the University of Leicester, Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University’s Institute of Palaeontology, the Chengjiang Fossil Museum, and London’s Natural History Museum have re-examined a unique fossil animal found in nearly 520-million-year-old rocks. This reevaluation helps fill a knowledge gap in the evolutionary history of animals known as arthropods.

    The animal, which has the scientific name Kylinxia, was imaged using a CT scanner which revealed its soft anatomy buried in the rock. The size of a large shrimp, its surprising features include three eyes on the head and a pair of fearsome limbs presumably used to catch prey.

    The study was recently published in the journal Current Biology.

    CT images of the fossil animal Kylinxia zhangi from southern China. The animal is the size of a large shrimp, with its front end to the right. This image clearly shows the segmentation of the body and the large eyes at the front. Credit: Courtesy of Professor Yu Liu, Yunnan University

    Fossils of many kinds of marine animals first appeared in rocks from about half a billion years ago and signal a time when complex ecosystems were developing in the world’s oceans. One of the key localities for such fossils is the area around the town of Chengjiang in southern China, where the fossils in this study were collected by the Chinese team. The fossils were recovered from the Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China’s Yunnan Province, from which over 250 species of exceptionally preserved fossil organisms have been described.

    The new find is important for deciphering the history of arthropods. These are animals whose bodies are divided into segments, most of which bear a paired of jointed limbs, like crabs, lobsters, insects, and spiders.

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  • #2
    Good find, although I was expecting something about a geriatric Frankenstein or the like

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