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Paleontology: Oldest representative of a weird arthropod group
via: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Summary: Biologists have assigned a number of 435-million-year-old fossils to a new genus of predatory arthropods. These animals lived in shallow marine habitats and were far less eye-catching than related forms found in Jurassic strata.
Before they sank to the bottom of their shallow marine habitat and were fossilized some 435 million years ago, these arthropods preyed on other denizens of the Silurian seas — although they were not exactly inconspicuous, possessing a bivalved carapace and multiple abdominal limbs.
A group of researchers including LMU biologist Carolin Haug recently recognized these fossils as the oldest representatives yet discovered of an enigmatic and now extinct class of arthropods known as Thylacocephala, and assigned them to the new species Thylacares brandonensis.
"Where exactly the thylacocephalans belong among the arthropods is still a matter of intense debate," Haug says, but the new specimens shed light on the phylogenetic affinities of this problematic group of animals…
(read more: Science Daily)
images: Joachim Haug - LMU
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