Photo credit: : Xiao Jia | Longyin Amber Museum
A small crab fossilized in 100-million-year-old amber was discovered by scientists recently and it’s currently the world’s oldest known. This tiny crustacean dates back to the age of dinosaurs and is claimed to be a ‘missing link’ in evolution. It’s the ancestor of the red crabs today that typically migrate by the millions to the oceans for breeding. The entire body is near perfectly preserved, complete with claws, shell, eyes and gills.
It has officially been named Cretapsara athanata (translates to immortal spirit of the clouds and waters), and also the most intact crab in the fossil record. The crustacean lived on both the land and sea. The developed gills indicate an aquatic or semi-aquatic lifestyle and is surprisingly modern-looking, resembling many shore descendants found today.
- HOBBY FOCUSED - Useful and fun for students, collectors, testers, and anyone interested in exploring the microscopic world. Includes a microscope...
- HIGH DEFINITION - 2.0 Megapixels, up to 250x magnification (Note: Final magnification corresponds to monitor size)
- BROAD COMPATIBILITY - Electronic microscope uses a webcam chipset and sensor to support nearly any operating system using standard webcam software....
Artwork credit: Franz Anthony, courtesy of Javier Luque (Harvard University)
In a way, it’s like finding a shrimp in amber. Talk about wrong place, wrong time. If we were to reconstruct the crab tree of life — putting together a genealogical family tree — and do some molecular DNA analysis, the prediction is that nonmarine crabs split from their marine ancestors more than 125 million years ago,” said Luque, a post-doctoral researcher in the Harvard Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.