There have been numerous species named after characters from the movie franchise Star Wars. Such names include, Wockia Chewbacca (a moth discovered in Mexico), Han Solo (a specie of trilobite), and Aptostichus sarlacc (a spider named after the creature that ate Boba Fett). And now to add to that list, here is Vaderlimulus tricki.
Named after--you guessed it--Darth Vader, Vaderlimulus tricki is a newly discovered horseshoe crab that closely resembles the sith lord's mask. This discovery is published in the world's oldest palaeontological journal, Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie.
Although horseshoe crabs resemble crustaceans, they're more related to spiders than actual crabs. Their oldest members are around 470 million years old, surviving a lot of mass extinction events. Vaderlimulus however, is dated at around 245 million years old and was found near Paris, Idaho, USA.
With this discovery, it is the first time that a horseshoe crab was found in the Triassic era. But across all of the eras that they existed, the horseshoe crabs all look similar. “Vaderlimulus, however, has unusual body proportions that give it an odd appearance,” says Dr Allan Lerner from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and lead author of the study. With large spines sticking out from the side of its head along with its unusual shape has lead the researchers to believe that the horseshoe crab was part of the Austrolimulidae family, which is extinct now. Researchers also thought that in their time, Vaderlimulus lived in shallow estuaries, where salt water and fresh water meet.
But this isn't the first time scientists named their discoveries after Anakin Skywalker. Beetles, mites, and even wasps are named after the sith lord, but none these actually looked closely like him.
Sadly, horseshoe crabs nowadays are being over-harvested for their blood's antibacterial properties. Let's just hope all of the living horseshoe crabs won't join Vaderlimulus on the dark side, or should I say the dead side.
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