A 500 million year old worm has recently been discovered in South China. Scientists from the University of Cambridge and Yunnan University is China have released a statement about the discovery of a worm like creature in the Xiaoshiba deposit.
It’s been named, Hairy Collin’s Monster after palaeontologist Desmond Collins who discovered a similar creature back in the 19880’s.
The findings of this legged-worm from the prehistoric Cambrian period was published earlier today in the journal for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers determined, after a study of the fossil, that it was a worm like creature with 72 sharp spikes covering its body. It had six pairs of legs in the front and nine pairs of legs in the back tipped claws.
Scientists have a theory that the worm lived a ‘sedentary lifestyle’ making it an easy target and the bottom most of the food chain, thus the development of the sharp spikes over time, to protect itself as it crawled along the ocean floor, according to the press release.
Scientists were lucky to find the fossil intact, showing the spike structure of the Cambrian creature. Small details are also visible, like the digestive tract and the coat of hair-like structures on its front legs.
A distant cousin of the modern velvet worm found in tropical forests, Collin’s Monster also shares its ancestry with another creature from Cambrian times, which also had a worm like body and was covered in spikes.
The complete reconstruction of this fellow lobopodian, using electron microscopes to determine exact location of the head on its body, was done by Scientists from the University of Cambridge, the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto.
Javier Ortega-Hernández, a research fellow from the University of Cambridge’s Earth Sciences department states, “Both creatures are lobopodians, or legged worms, but the Collins’ Monster sort of looks like Hallucigenia on steroids,” “It had much heavier armor protecting its body, with up to five pointy spines per pair of legs, as opposed to Hallucigenia’s two.”