Two palaeontologists working on the world-renowned Burgess Shale have revealed a new species, called Mollisonia plenovenatrix, which is presented as the oldest chelicerate. This discovery places the origin of this vast group of animals — of over 115,000 species, including horseshoe crabs, scorpions and spiders — to a time more than 500 million years ago. The findings are published in the journal Nature on September 11, 2019.
Mollisonia plenovenatrix would have been a fierce predator — for its size. As big as a thumb, the creature boasted a pair of large egg-shaped eyes and a “multi-tool head” with long walking legs, as well as numerous pairs of limbs that could all-together sense, grasp, crush and chew. But, most importantly, the new species also had a pair of tiny “pincers” in front of its mouth, called chelicerae. These typical appendages give the name to the group of scorpions and spiders, the chelicerates, which use them to kill, hold, and sometimes cut, their prey.
“Before this discovery, we couldn’t pinpoint the chelicerae in other Cambrian fossils, although some of them clearly have chelicerate-like characteristics,” says lead author Cédric Aria, a member of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Burgess Shale expeditions since 2012, and is presently a post-doctoral fellow at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology (China). “This key feature, this coat of arms of the chelicerates, was still missing.”…
“Evidence is converging towards picturing the Cambrian explosion as even swifter than what we thought,” says Aria. “Finding a fossil site like the Burgess Shale at the very beginning of the Cambrian would be like looking into the eye of the cyclone.” Paper. (paywall) – Cédric Aria, Jean-Bernard Caron. A middle Cambrian arthropod with chelicerae and proto-book gills. Nature, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1525-4 More.
A friend writes to note that, whereas a researcher says, “Evidence is converging towards picturing the Cambrian explosion as even swifter than what we thought,” Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, trashing David Gelernter for ditching Darwin, informs us, “But as we have built up an increasingly detailed picture of early life by unearthing more fossils from the Precambrian, even the concept of an explosion is disappearing, with paleontologists increasingly speaking of a “Cambrian diversification.”
Somebody better tell these “new find” guys to quit believing’ their lyin’ eyes and believe Darwinists instead.
See also: Darwinian Jerry Coyne Vents His Spleen At Darwin-Doubting Yale Computer Scientist
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