Hallucigenia is a tiny sea creature that lived on Earth 500 million years back. To date, all fossils of this bizarre animal seemed to be without heads. However, scientists have finally managed to get a look at the missing part of the creature as new specimens excavated in Canada contain remains of the head of Hallucigenia.
Dr. Martin Smith of the University of Cambridge informed that the head of Hallucigenia boasts an absolutely surreal appearance; according to him, it appears to be something from the alien world.
Archaeologists discovered the first fossil of this sea creature over 100 years back. The first look at the fossil left scientists baffled. It was an extremely small animal boasting a body that was less than 2 cm long and thinner even than a human hair. In addition, its overall appearance was very strange. On one side of its thin cylindrical body there were pairs of huge spines, while the other side had stick-like flimsy clawed appendages dangling from it.
Dr Smith, who conducted the study with assistance from University of Toronto’s Jean-Bernard Caron, said that the Hallucigenia boasts a pretty chequered past. He added that when the creature was first described formally, the description included several wrong facts. According to Smith, scientists came to know about the exact locations of the animal’s feet and back only some time back.
However, till the discovery of these new specimens, ambiguities regarding the exact location of Hallucigenia’s tail and head were pretty much there. Unearthing of the specimens from Canada’s Burgess Shale has allowed the scientists to get rid of all those uncertainties as for the first time ever they have the picture of the creature’s entire body.
Delicate chipping of the ancient rock allowed scientists to get hold of a slim, spoon-shaped head boasting some really surprising features. Scientists put the head underneath an electron microscope and found that it doesn’t only boast a pair of eyes, but also has a mischievous wide grin beneath them.
Inside the Hallucigenia’s mouth, scientists found two sets of teeth, one had a ring-like arrangement and the other one was running from the creature’s throat down to its stomach.
The entire study revealing the features of the head of Hallucigenia can be read on the journal Nature.