Oldest crabs found in Spain, 100-million-old spider crab fossils discovered, scientists say

By on Feb 5, 2013 in Amazing, Animals, Europe Comments

A team of scientists reportedly found remains of the oldest crabs, as shown in the photo below, which belong to a spider crab species that lived on Earth around 100 million years ago. The said fossils were discovered in fossil reef in an abandoned quarry in Koskobilo, Spain, along with seven new species of crustaceans.

oldest crabs fossils

Fossils of Cretamaja granulata, oldest crabs,
which were found in Koskobilo, Spain

Image Credit: Cretaceous Research

According to a report at LiveScience.com on Monday, February 4, 2013, researchers from the United States, the Netherlands, and Spain have been collecting fossils in the said quarry in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Their new findings revealed that around 36 decapod species could have survived in that area.

As noted by Live Science, with further details explained in the upcoming issue of the journal Cretaceous Research, among the crab species that were found include the two oldest-known spider crabs, called Cretamaja granulata and Koskobilius postangustus, which are much older than what have been earlier discovered.

“The previous oldest one was from France and is some millions of years younger. So this discovery in Spain in quite impressive and pushes back the origin of spider crabs as known from fossils.” Adiel Klompmaker, study author, told the report, noting that they found two new species in the first two hours when they went there in 2008.

“Something must have happened in the environment that caused reefs in the area to vanish, and with it, probably many of the decapods that were living in these reefs. Not many decapods are known from the time after the reefs disappeared in the area.” Klompmaker added.

As described by the researchers, Cretamaja granulata measures about 0.6 inches (15 millimeters) long and its appearance suggest that it belongs to the oldest spider crab. It has two diverging spines coming out of its rostrum, which is the extended part of its shell and in front of the eyes; along with a likely pear-shaped shell.

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