When someone names a creature "Callichimaera perplexa", you know it must be cool like hell.
Callichimaera perplexa is a crab that lived 90 to 95 million years ago at the time of the dinosaurs, but it is not like the crabs of today that you might spot crawling on the bottom of the ocean (or sitting on a plate). Palaeontologist Javier Luque of the University of Alberta and Yale University compared crustaceans to platypus, the famous egg-laying and duck-billed mammal.
"We started looking at these fossils and found that they had what looked like larvae eyes, shrimp muzzles, frog crab claws and a lobster shell," he said. Luque, senior author of a study. published in Science Advances.
Callichimaera means "beautiful chimera". It is a call to the chimera of Greek mythology, a beast composed of parts of a lion, a goat and a snake.
Scientists have discovered more than 70 fossil specimens of crab in the Andes, Colombia, a shallow sea of Cretaceous. Anatomical details suggest a swimming-based lifestyle unlike today's crawling crabs.
The fossils are so well preserved that researchers have been able to create a 3D model that can be printed.
"This discovery, which dates back to the middle of the Cretaceous, shows that there are still some surprising discoveries of newer and more strange organisms waiting to be discovered, especially in the tropics," said Luque. .
Unlike the mythical chimera, Callichimaera perplexa, a dwelling of water, did not burn the flames.