Chinese scientists have found a five-eyed shrimplike creature that dates back 520 million years, which may be the "missing link" in the evolution of Earth's most common animals -- arthropods.
The fossils of Kylinxia zhangi, named after an auspicious animal in Chinese mythology named Kylin and the Chinese word for shrimp, was found in a rock formation in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The newly discovered "shrimp" combines features from different animals of the Cambrian period. These include a hardened cuticle, a segmented trunk, jointed legs, five eyes on its head and large claws at the front of the body for seizing prey, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature.
The research team conducted a detailed evolutionary analysis of the fossils of Kylinxia. Results indicated that the evolutionary placement of Kylinxia is right between Anomalocaris and the euarthropods, bridging the gap between species evolution.
Kylinxia provides important clues for humans to solve the mystery of the origin and evolution of early animals, said Zhu Maoyan, co-author of the study and researcher from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Arthropods, including spiders, insects and crustaceans, make up more than 80 percent of all animal species on Earth. (Xinhua)
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