Scientists have claimed to have found the oldest known fossils of spider crabs that lived more than 100 million years ago after the fossils were discovered in a reef of the coast of northern Spain.
Reports indicate that the spider crab fossils were found, along with eight new species of crustaceans, after researchers uncovered the ancient relics in the Koskobilo quarry. The newly uncovered spider crab fossil, named Cretamaja granulata and Koskobilius postangustus, are millions of years older than previous spider crab fossils that have been discovered.
"The previous oldest one was from France and is some millions of years younger," Adiel Klompmaker lead researcher and postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, told LiveScience. "So this discovery in Spain in quite impressive and pushes back the origin of spider crabs as known from fossils."
The reef where the fossils were recovered is no longer there as environmental changes throughout the age of time altered the marine landscape, but researchers are amazed that such a diverse ecosystem existed such a long time ago.
"One of the main results of this research is that decapod crustaceans are really abundant in reefs in the Cretaceous," Klompmaker told LiveScience during an interview.
"The presence of corals seemed to promote decapod biodiversity as early as 100 million years ago and may have served as nurseries for speciation," he added,
There has not been any word if the new crab species will be officially named after someone famous, given that a previously discovered crab was named after David Hasselhoff.
Scientists recently discovered several new species of animals living in the frigid deep ocean off the coast of Antarctica. One of the discoveries, a crab with a hairy chest, has been dubbed the "Hasselhoff crab" after former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff.
Scientists exploring deep-sea vents in the Antarctic uncovered the new species of crab after stumbling upon the crabs as researchers where studying hydrothermal vents.
It was "almost like a sight from another planet," Alex Rogers, expedition leader and professor of zoology at Oxford University, told the BBC.