He has three eyes and killing claws.  A mysterious fossil reveals a great secret

What was the world of plants and animals like more than 500 million years ago in the Cambrian period? Completely different from today. No living creatures lived on earth yet, and only primitive algae grew in the seas, and various creatures were swimming among them. The world was beginning an “arms race” – successive groups of organisms building shields, shells or exoskeletons to protect it. But who will be the deadly predator in the Cambrian Sea? kylexia.

Read also: It died out millions of years ago, and it still haunts us. A terrifying fossil reveals the secrets of evolution

The world of science only learned about these tiny invertebrates recently, in 2020. kylexia It was an arthropod the size of a large shrimp. It wasn’t like insects or spiders today. Its body was a little more akin to today’s centipedes, though that resemblance is too much.

A re-examination of fossils from the Cambrian period revealed a striking similarity with arthropods extant today

Scientists from the University of Leicester, the Yunnan Key Laboratory of Paleontology, the Institute of Paleontology of Yunnan University, the Zhengjiang Fossil Museum and the Natural History Museum in London have re-described the fossil. kylexiaWhich was found in rocks 520 million years ago near the city of Changjiang. The research results were published in Current Biology.

Read also: It looks like a hideous crater and is the oldest in the world. And in the mountains, they found a record fossil

Kylinxia arangi / Source: Wikimedia Commons, CCP-SA 4.0

The researchers decided to conduct a cross-sectional study of the arthropod sample. Thanks to this, they were able to look at the animal’s body structure in detail. It turns out kylexia In her lifetime, she had three eyes that grew out of a six-part head. Arthropods today also have a similar structure. This is an important detail because it places the Cambrian creature in the same family as arthropods and suggests that there must have been a common ancestor for them no later than 520 million years ago. kylexiaInsects, spiders and crustaceans.

In addition, our Cambrian predator had one pair of pincers growing from the front of its body. They have been used to capture and kill their victims. It is also likely that they used them to direct food into the mouthparts.

Read also: This 500-million-year-old fossil is unique. We haven’t found anything like this before

The evolution of arthropods began very early in the history of the organic world. It is known that already in the Cambrian period, animals similar to these must have lived somewhere kylexiaHowever, it lacked the anatomical features typical of modern arthropods. If such a fossil were ever discovered, it would likely be the only true ancestor of them all arthropods; – The largest group of living organisms on Earth.

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