Saturday, 28 March 2015

This weird giant shrimp-like predator prowled our oceans long before the dinosaurs arrived

Long before the first dinosaur or even this giant killer newt, a weird shrimp-like creature prowled the oceans with unusual toothed claws. It resembles an enormous silverfish - wingless household insects that feed on clothing and wallpaper - and sheds light on the origins of spiders, crabs and beetles. It's called the Yawunik kootenayi and lived more than 500 million years ago. The weird predator, measuring several inches, had long frontal appendages resembling the antennae of modern beetles or shrimps, but which bore toothed claws.Researcher Cedric Aria, from the University of Toronto, Canada, said: "This creature is expanding our perspective on the anatomy and predatory habits of the first arthropods, the group to which spiders and lobsters belong. "It has the signature features of an arthropod with its external skeleton, segmented body and jointed appendages, but lacks certain advanced traits present in groups that survived until the present day. We say that it belongs to the 'stem' of arthropods." Yawunik was able to move its claws backwards and forwards, spreading them out for an attack and then retracting them under its body when swimming.READ MORE - kootenayi

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