March 28, 2015
|(Credit: University of Toronto)|
Fossils of an ancient, lobster-like creature that is the forerunner of a diverse group of creatures including lobsters, butterflies, and spiders have been identified by paleontologists at the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Pomona College in California.
The species, Yawunik kootenayi, is described as a marine predator that had two pairs of eyes and prominent frontal appendages that could have been used for grasping. They believe that it lived more than 508 million years ago, or 250 million years before the first dinosaurs.
Yawunik kootenayi is believed to be the first new species to be described from Toronto’s Marble Canyon site, part of the renowned Canadian Burgess Shale fossil deposit, the researchers said. A paper describing the discovery was published this week in the journal Palaeontology.