Even Dr. Frankenstein and his monster would be jealous of this creature.
An artistic reconstruction of Callichimaera perplexa: the "strangest crab that has ever lived".
When someone names a creature "Callichimaera perplexa", you know it's got to be cool as hell.
A team of worldwide researchers, led by Yale University paleontologist Javier Luque, uncovered the hundreds of exceptionally well-preserved specimens in rock formations in Colombia and the United States that date back to the mid-Cretaceous period of 90-95 million years ago. It's a call-out to the chimera of Greek mythology, a beast made up of parts of a lion, goat and snake.
In a study published on the journal Science Advances, an global team of researchers reveal the details about the fantastic cache of sea creatures they uncovered, which included an incredibly freaky ancient crab dubbed the Callichimaera perplexa.
This particular animal is so odd that the researchers are even calling it as "the platypus of the crab world", according to a press release from Yale University. "Our phylogenetic analyses, including representatives of all major lineages of fossil and extant crabs, challenge conventional views of their evolution by revealing multiple convergent losses of a typical "crab-like" body plan since the Early Cretaceous", the study's abstract reads.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
The crab's giant eyes likely helped it to hunt smaller crustaceans while swimming in the ancient Cretaceous period oceans. "We think they were actually active predators". The anatomical details point to a swimming-based lifestyle, unlike the crawling crabs of today.
"We found dozens of animals, from tiny baby specimens to mature individuals in which we found reproductive organs-a smoking gun that proves these were adult organisms and not larvae".
Callichimaera perplexa: the oldest swimming crab from the dinosaur era. "It's an incredible amount of detail, and we've been able to reconstruct them like they were living yesterday".
"This discovery, from the mid-Cretaceous, illustrates that there are still surprising discoveries of more recent, weird organisms waiting to be found, especially in the tropics", he concluded.