An ancient extinct creature with scissor-like claws,newly-discovered in fossil records,has been named after movie star Johnny Depp.
The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions.
Kooteninchela deppi lived in very shallow seas,similar to modern coastal environments,off the cost of British Columbia in Canada,which was situated much closer to the equator 500 million years ago.
The creature was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands – a movie about an artificial man named Edward,an unfinished creation,who has scissors for hands.
“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands,” said David Legg from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London.
“Even the genus name,Kootenichela,includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth,I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?” Legg said.
The researcher believes that Kooteninchela deppi would have been a hunter or scavenger.
Its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws with their elongated spines may have been used to capture prey,or they could have helped it to probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.
Kooteninchela deppi was approximately four centimetres long with an elongated trunk for a body and millipede-like legs,which it used to scuttle along the sea floor with the occasional short swim.
It also had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. They were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it more easily search for food and look out for predators.
The researcher discovered that Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the ‘great-appendage’ arthropods,or megacheirans,which refers to the enlarged pincer-like frontal claws that they share.
The ‘great-appendage’ arthropods are an early relation of arthropods,which includes spiders,scorpions,centipedes,millipedes,insects and crabs.
The research was published in the Journal of Palaeontology.