Prehistoric Bad-Ass Worms, Literally

Khryss | Published 2017-08-29 13:11

(Also known as "The Article Filled with Ass Puns".)     

In an evolutionary event known as the Cambrian explosion – which happened a little over half a billion years ago, the ever complex life on Earth varied rather speedily, delivering up winning specimen every now and then, and producing creatures that seemed alien from an Anthropocene (basically a geology period in history) perspective.

The Capinator praetermissus, a newly discovered species of extinct also known as “arrow worm” – is one of the glorious contenders for the title of the most bizarre Cambrian sea-dweller. When one has studied the etymology of the name of this smartass (get it?) index-finger-sized predator, its name per se tells so much about it. The 50 spines this creature sports around its head is to vacuum, grasp, and restrain its prey in its tiny yet surprisingly flexible opening.

Talk about being both an asshole and a real pain in the ass…

(I should stop cracking these jokes, butt I can’t stop.)

Capinatator is derived from “capio,” meaning “to grasp,” and “natator,” which is defined as “swimmer.” The species name praetermissus means “overlooked.”

Triumphantly identified as a new species and anus-looking genus (wordplay!), this animal shafts from the water depths, guising its spines as means of terrifying the smallest marine creatures during that time, according to Jean-Bernard Caron, senior curator of invertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Petrifying as these delightfully bizarre sea creatures may seem to us – with the spines surrounding the weirdly familiar hole on their head, they are barely as abundant as their armaments, belonging to an extinct cluster today, as described in research in Current Biology.

However, amazingly enough, these extinct species have 120 different kinds of arrow worm living among the sea creatures up to this day, playing a particular role in the plankton ecosystem.

Now that is information you can get behind. Wink.

Hey! Where are you going?? Subscribe!

Get weekly science updates in your inbox!