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Photos: Ancient Crab is the Strangest You've Ever Seen

Giant eyes

ancient crab

(Image credit: Oksana Vernygora/University of Alberta)

Here is an illustration of Callichimaera perplexa, quite possibly the strangest looking crab that ever lived.

[Read more about the strange crab]

Crabby fossil

ancient crab

(Image credit: Daniel Ocampo R., Vencejo Films)

Yale paleontologist Javier Luque found C. perplexa in Colombia in 2005. Since then, C. perplexa specimens have also turned up in Wyoming and Morocco.

Tiny crab

ancient crab

(Image credit: Daniel Ocampo R., Vencejo Films)

C. perplexa lived during the last dinosaur age, the Cretaceous period, about 95 million years ago.

Crustacean diversity

ancient crab

(Image credit: Photos: Arthur Anker and Javier Luque/Figure: Javier Luque, Yale University)

Crabs come in many shapes and sizes. But C. perplexa (center) might be the strangest of all of them. It has giant baby-like eyes, a lobster-like shell, the claws of a frog crab and paddles like an ancient sea scorpion.

Excavation

ancient crab

(Image credit: Daniel Ocampo R., Vencejo Films)

Paleontologist Javier Luque searches for fossil crabs in the Colombian Andes.

Amazing find

ancient crab

(Image credit: Daniel Ocampo R., Vencejo Films)

This extinct crab is a chimera, meaning it combines traits from several extinct and living crabs and crustaceans.

Digging away

ancient crab

(Image credit: Felipe Villegas/Humboldt Institute)

Luque (left) and Catalina Suarez, with the Colombian Geological Survey (center) dig for fossils in the Colombian Andes.

[Read more about the strange crab]