The territories of life are unlimited when it comes to shapes, sizes, functions and capacities. Some species of animals look like they have been taken out of some distant boxes of imagination, offering a fascinating yet frightening view to our eyes.
A new species of prehistoric worm with super armor was recently discovered by paleontologists in a half a billion year old fossil. The precious discovery was lying in a remote area in China and subsequent analysis showed that the creature roamed earth during the Cambrian Explosion, a time when the entire diversity of wildlife started.
All the animals belonging to the Cambrian Period are a jewelry to the human eye that gazes in wonder at the fascinating shapes. The ancient armored worm is no exception to the rule, as it has two antenna resembling appendages on its head, six pairs of feathery forelimbs and nine pairs of spiny rear limbs. Although the description fits our idea of a monster coming from fantastic parallel universes, it matches the reality of ancient times.
The creature is one of the first soft-bodied animals ever discovered, outlining the diversity in how prehistoric creatures looked and lived.
The creature is called Hairy Collins’ Monster, named after Desmond Collins, a famous scientist who found and illustrated a highly similar creature in Canada back in the 80’s. It seems that the world of phantasy can successfully imitate life, revealing precious insights over the never-ending possibilities of nature.
Harry Collins’s monster is covered with no less than 72 sharp spikes, designed for protection as it used to crawl along the ocean floor. Scientists tend to believe that the creature lived a “sedentary lifestyle”, becoming a very easy target for someone with a higher position in the food chain. The design for life is more often than not perfect, so the sharp spikes worked as the ideal shield against predators.
The recently found fossil was so well preserved that it even shows small details such as the worm’s digestive tract and the layer of hair-like structures on its front legs. The animal is probably a distant relative of the modern velvet worm, a very small animal found in tropical forests.
The entire anatomy of the “Monster” was reconstructed with the help of electron microscopes, helping scientists to determine the correct location of its head on its body.
Scientists already embarked on a mission to publish a paper about the recently found lobopodian and the research report can be found in the journal for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Image Source: cnet.com