(Mirror Daily, United States) – A team of researchers made an extremely rare discovery in Herefordshire, UK. They found an ancient fossil, the ancestor of modern-day shrimps, crabs, and lobsters. Now, they named this incredible discovery in honor of Sir David Attenborough.
A study on the fossil was also published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal. Research was carried out by Yale, Oxford, and Leicester University as well as Imperial College London scientists. They are also the ones to decide on its new name.
Sir David Attenborough Lends His Name To A New Animal Species
Sir David Attenborough is a famous naturalist and broadcaster, Last year, he celebrated his 90th birthday, which also led the research team to decide on honoring him. Various other animal species, as well as inanimate objects, have already been named after him.
As such, David Attenborough was the source of inspiration for naming a research ship, a flightless weevil, and also a dinosaur specimen. Now, a shrimp-like fossil will be added to the list. This latter was named Cascolus ravitis. Each word comes with its own specific meaning.
More exactly, Cascolus is based on the naturalist’s surname. In Old English, Attenborough can be translated as “a fortified place”. After being Latinized, it resulted in the aforementioned term. Ravitis was inspired by the Latin mix for Leicester, the place where David Attenborough grew up. As such, it is composed of vita or life, and commeatis or messenger.
The Shrimp-Like Fossil Is An Extraordinary Exemplary
According to the research team, this fossil is an incredible find. It was discovered in the Lagerstatte site, in Herefordshire, as researchers noted its imprint in volcanic ash. This respective site, situated on the border between England and Wales, is well known for its finely preserved fossils. The Cascolus ravitis is estimated to be around 430 million years old and is an ancestor of the modern-day crustaceans.
This shrimp-like invertebrate is a malacostracan. Featuring 10 legs, at its widest point, the specimen is 1.3 mm wide and barely 8.9 mm long. Nonetheless, the ancient fossil is extremely well preserved, according to the study team. In contrast to most other species, which are found squashed, this was actually preserved in its three dimensions.
The fossil revealed paddle-like structure spread throughout its body, which could have been used for moving. Also, it presented flagellae. These are hair-like delicate structures which may have served as chemical or spatial sensing tools. Its large eyes are set on stalks and must have offered a 360-degrees vision.
Researchers are yet unsure what this species ate. However, the presence of claw-like structures, like in crabs, seem to suggest that it was a predator. The well-preserved crustacean ancestor fossil will most likely continue being studied.
As for David Attenborough himself, he stated that “ The biggest compliment that a biologist or paleontologist can pay to another one is to name a fossil in his honor and I take this as a very great compliment.”
Image Source: Wikimedia