Three eyes and visible brain: researchers discover strange 500-year-old fossil
In the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, within Yoho and Kootenay National Park, a group of researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto announced the discovery of fossils belonging to a strange marine predator.
The particular finding was published in the prestigious journal Current Biology, by the researcher Jopesh Moysiuk, who named the creature a Stanleycaris Hirpex.
“It is a great discovery. What makes this find so remarkable is that we have dozens of specimens showing the remains of the brain and other elements of the nervous system, and they’re incredibly well preserved and show really fine detail. The details are really sharp and beautiful,” Moysiuk notes in his article.
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The fossil found had the following characteristics:
- Three eyes (two protruding from stalks and a giant one in the center of the head)
- saw-shaped teeth
- A segmented body with fins along its sides
- 20cm long
The brain of this creature was composed of two segments, the protobrain and the deutobrain, connected with the eyes and the front claws, respectively.
“We conclude that the two-segmented head and brain have deep roots in the arthropod lineage and that their evolution likely preceded the three-segmented brain that characterizes all living members of this diverse animal phylum,” Moysiuk added.
“We can even make out fine details, like the visual processing centers that serve the large eyes, and the traces of the nerves that go into the appendages. The details are so clear that it is as if we are looking at an animal that died yesterday,” said Joseph Moysiuk of the Royal Ontario Museum and lead author of the research.