Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Oldest Known Spider Crabs Found in Cennomanian Spain

The remains of eight new species of crustaceans, including the oldest known spider crabs that lived 100 million years ago, have been uncovered in a fossil reef in northern Spain, scientists report.

The fossils were found in the abandoned Koskobilo quarry alongside other species of decapod crustaceans (a group that includes crabs, shrimp and lobsters). The two oldest-known spider crabs, named Cretamaja granulata and Koskobilius postangustus, are much older than the previous record holder, said study author Adiël Klompmaker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

"The previous oldest one was from France and is some millions of years younger," Klompmaker told LiveScience, referring to the spider crabs. "So this discovery in Spain in quite impressive and pushes back the origin of spider crabs as known from fossils."

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