In a recent excavation in the Alberta-B.C. border, archaeologists have come across the fossil of a newly identified marine creature. According to the archaeologists, the newly discovered animal used to live on this planet 509 years ago. This means those creatures existed over 250 million years before dinosaurs inhabited the Earth.
The creature, whose scientific name is Yawunik kootenayi, had a 10 cm long body. It came with three long claws and 2 sets of eyes. Out of its three claws, two were in line with its teeth and were meant for assisting the animal in catching preys. Another striking feature of the Yawunik’s claws is the whip-like appendage; these appendages, according to experts, allowed the creature to sense its surrounding area.
Experts studying the fossil concluded that the Yawunik was an arthropod. It is believed to have direct links with creatures such as butterflies, lobsters and spiders.
The entire study on this fossil was carried out by a group of paleontologist from the Royal Ontario Museum, Pomona College in California and the University of Toronto.
Cedric Aria of the University of Toronto, who is the lead author of the study, informed that Yawuniks are members of a stem group of the arthropods. It is the same group that has creatures such as ants, lobsters, shrimps and spiders as it members; this proves that Yawuniks are ancestors of these modern-day creatures.
Aria added that the new arthropod discovered by them has all the signature characteristics of arthropods. Examples include joint appendages, segmented body, external skeleton and so on. However, it doesn’t have a few advanced features found in the present day arthropods.
The paleontologists named the creature Yawunik kootenayi to pay tribute to the Ktunaxa Nation or Kootenay.
It is the first creature discovered at the Marble Canyon. For those who don’t know: the Marble Canyon is a famous site at the Kootenay National Park in British Columbia.
The Marble Canyon is located around 40 km away from the Burgess Shale, a 505 million year old structure situated in the Yoho National Park.
During the excavation in the Marble Canyon, archaeologists discovered fossils of as many as fifty animal species. Out of them, just 38 were known species and the remaining 12 were new to the world of science.