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Habelia optata - The Cambrian arthropod with a 'Jacknife' head

January 1, 2018

 

Habelia optata (Joanna Liang/Royal Ontario Museum)

 

Until recently, paleontologist have had difficulty deciding where the Habeliida taxa belonged on the tree of life. A recent re-description of the arthropod habelia optata places the Habeliida next to the Chelicerata. Horseshoe crabs, sea spiders, scorpions and spiders are all Chelicerates.

Tree of life showing the relationships between arthropods (Cedric Aria)

 

For more information about the re-description of Habelia optata consult the CBC's article:

 

Ancient spider cousin had 5 sets of jaws for crushing its prey

 

 

Or read the academic paper:

 

Mandibulate convergence in an armoured Cambrian stem chelicerate

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