'Walking cactus' rewrites arthropod odyssey

Feb 23, 2011
Image credit: Mingguang Chi

Fossils of a bizarre animal dubbed the "walking cactus" have shed light on the evolution of crabs and spiders, Chinese researchers reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

Specimens found in 2006 in rocks in the Jianshan area near Haikou, in southwestern China's Yunnan province, have revealed an "armoured lobopodian" that lived nearly half a billion years ago.

This was during the so-called Cambrian Explosion, an astonishing burst of that determined the future of species which are alive today.

Measuring around six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, it comprises a central spine that resembles a skinny, soft-bodied worm, from which 10 pairs of spiny and apparently jointed limbs emerge.

The paper suggests the primitive critter is the closest-known relative to modern arthropods.

Its finding boosts theories that arthropods derive from ancestors whose legs developed a tough external skeleton before their bodies did.

The species has been dubbed Diania cactiformis. "Dian" is a linguistic derivation in Chinese of Yunnan while "cactiformis" refers to cactus-like shapes.

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User comments : 7

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that_guy
4 / 5 (6) Feb 23, 2011
This will be my first animal in my cambrian themed park. If it escapes, it can be stepped on.
alexcampbell
1 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2011
This was during the so-called Cambrian Explosion, an astonishing burst of biodiversity that determined the future of species which are alive today.
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Parking Sensors
alexcampbell
1 / 5 (6) Feb 24, 2011
This was during the so-called Cambrian Explosion, an astonishing burst of biodiversity that determined the future of species which are alive today.
====================================================
Parking Sensors
that_guy
5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2011
This was during the so-called Cambrian Explosion, an astonishing burst of biodiversity that determined the future of species which are alive today.

Yes, most of us were aware of that before the article told us that again, and then you, a third time. What are you, a parrot?
Moebius
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011
Looks like a prime candidate for mistaken identity and it isn't an animal.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (3) Feb 24, 2011
@Moebius, i was thinking the same thing, how reliable are these chinese researchers?
zslewis91
3 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2011
@kaasinees
@moebius
..............retards..