Ok, maybe that was a little harsh. The little guy is adorable. The newly discovered pocket-sized crab dubbed Callichimaera perplexa roamed the seas a cool 95 million years ago. Though the appearance of the crab had scientists chuckling to themselves, there is much more to this recent discovery. Published in the journal Science Advances, the discovery of Callichimaera is forcing scientists to rethink crabs.
"The Beautiful Nightmare Crab"
Paleontologist both at Yale University and the University of Alberta discovered Callichimaera, however, the crustacean has researchers scratching their head. Sharing the discovery described in an interview with the Washington Post, Javier Luque, a postdoctoral paleontologist described how the crab was very different from its modern-day cousins.
Callichimaera rocked a nice but small shell that resembled that of a lobster as well as legs flattened like oars and huge "Pound Puppies" eyes that would be adorable in any stuffed animal. The eyes were actually so big on the crab that if humans shared the same proportions, our eyes would be the size of soccer balls. The crab's body was about the size of a quarter coin and came equipped with wrench-like claws.
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Living during the mid-Cretaceous period, Callichimaera was hanging around what is now Colombia, Northern Africa, and the United States around when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
However, as mentioned in the interview the crustacean may be the key to gaining a better understanding of how novel body forms can evolve over time. The researches believed that Callichimaera had a "mosaic of body parts" that crustaceans eventually grew out of laying the evolutionary framework for crabs today.
As for the name of the newly discovered crab, Callichimaera perplexa means "perplexing beautiful chimera", deriving itself from a Greek mythological creature that had body parts from different animals.
Who knows? Aside from giving researchers more insight into the over 7,000 species of living crabs, Callichimaera could make its debut in upcoming Jurassic Park sequels.