Palaeontology

Fossil arthropod with scissor hands

    A marine arthropod with long, three-pronged claws has been described from 505-million-year-old fossils.

    Credit: THE PALEONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY

    David Legg at Imperial College London named the creature Kootenichela deppi after Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, Canada, where the fossils were found; chela, the Latin for claw; and Johnny Depp, the actor who played the blade-fingered Edward Scissorhands in the film of the same name. Fossils have been given similarly whimsical names before; for example, one arthropod was called Han solo.

    K. deppi (pictured) was described on the basis of three specimens. Legg puts the sharp-handed beast in the arthropod class Megacheira (great appendage). He also reassigns Worthenella cambria, which was originally described in 1911 as a segmented worm, as a sister megacheiran.

    J. Paleontol. 87, 493–501 (2013)

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    Fossil arthropod with scissor hands. Nature 497, 539 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/497539b

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