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Australian creatures like the echidna and the koala are celebrated for their oddness. The fossil record shows that this oddity reaches far back into prehistory, as illustrated in the form of a fossil horseshoe crab found in Tasmania that has been renamed by UNE paleontologist Dr. Russell Bicknell.
"The specimen from the Upper Permian Jackey Shale records a moment in time when Australian organisms were diverging towards the weirdness we see today in animals like the platypus," Dr. Bicknell said.
Spines - Horseshoe - Crabs - Species - Today
"It has large backward-pointing spines that are unknown to all related horseshoe crabs, and was much smaller than the species we have today. It's possible that the spines were an adaptation to the one-way flows of freshwater, which was probably where this species lived."
The specimen, owned by the University of Tasmania, was assigned to the genus Paleolimulus in 1989—a category that Dr. Bicknell described as "sort of a taxonomic waste-basket for specimens that don't quite fit elsewhere".
Re-assessment - Genus
His re-assessment confirmed that it didn't belong in that genus, and...
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