You will probably agree that there are many animals around the world that terrify us. In fact, scientists recently discovered a crab that resembles of one the most iconic sci-fi characters: Darth Vader. They believe the fossil they discovered is 245 million years old, and it reveals an odd invertebrate with a head that is shaped like the letter “D” and a long tail. The scientists behind the research see it as a very Darth Vader-like crab.
Its resemblance with the Star Wars villain inspired the scientists to name it Vaderlimulus. They say that horseshoe crabs were living on earth 470 million years ago, and this recently-discovered crab appears to have lived during the Triassic Period at the time they believe the first dinosaurs were evolving. Horseshoe crabs can still be found today, which means that they survived five massive extinctions, scientists say. If you are looking for one, you can spot them around the U.S. East Coast or in eastern Asia.
The scientists say that Vaderlimulus usually lived along the coast of Idaho at a time when the surface of our planet had a different shape. They say the supercontinent Pangea was present at that time, giving what today is the state of Idaho a coastline, although it now is landlocked. The researchers from Germany published the findings from their study in the journal Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie and Palaontologie.
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Horseshoe crabs in general are in the subphylum Chelicerata, as their closest relatives are spiders and scorpions. Those species have exoskeletons in common, although horseshoe crabs are not crabs entirely. Their legs are tucked under a large shell with eyes on the top.
Their body shape can at times be a weakness. If they get flipped over onto their back, they can get back to the right position with the help of their long tails. However, this could at times be difficult. Scientists say that even though they managed to survive for hundreds of millions of years and witnessed many forms of evolution, starting from the dinosaur era to its end, modern horseshoe crabs are slowly depleting, given that they can be easily caught and are often used as fertilizers.
Some scientists even take their blood in order to craft medicines. Unfortunately, even though many of them are returned to the ocean after the blood donation, horseshoe crabs have a high mortality rate, and due to their low spawn rate, they are slowly disappearing. Since the scientists discovered this Darth Vader-like crab, they have found that it is different from other horseshoe crabs. If they manage to survive the era of humans, perhaps they will be able to live 100,000 more years after us.
What do you think about this Darth Vader-like crab?