A team of researchers stumbled upon the fossils of a horseshoe crab with an unusual shape, which received the most suitable names of all. The animal resembled the infamous Star Wars villain Darth Vader, so scientists couldn’t help naming it after him: Vaderlimulus tricki.
The fossil was 245 million years old, had a long tail, and its head was shaped like the letter D. This made it look like it was wearing a helmet, thus bringing the uncanny resemblance to Darth Vader. However, this wasn’t the only reason why this particular horseshoe crab was different.
The first horseshoe crabs were born about 470 million years ago. However, this specimen was a little more recent, dating back from the Triassic period. This was also the moment when the first dinosaurs had started appearing. Actually, these creatures could survive five mass extinctions, so they can still be seen around even today. The Darth Vader horseshoe crab used to live in today’s Idaho which, back then, was on the Pangaean coast.
Horseshoe crabs are in great danger because of humans
Horseshoe crabs are related to scorpions and spiders, meaning that they aren’t really crabs. They have an exoskeleton and their legs resemble those of crabs. However, they hide them under the huge shell. This can protect them sometimes but, if they end up on their backs, they have a hard time flipping themselves back up.
These creatures could survive so many natural events, but it’s harder to survive human action. Their numbers are severely decreasing, as people catch them for various purposes. It turns out they are great to use as fertilizers but, sometimes, their blood is of great use when making medicine. They don’t have to be killed for that but, once they get back into the ocean after the procedure, they decrease their spawn rate and increase their mortality rate.