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Oldest Crabs Found: Scientists Discover 100 Million Year Old Spider Crab Fossils

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Feb 04, 2013 03:56 PM EST

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A 100 million year old fossil of a spider crab was found in Spain (not pictured).(Photo : Flickr)

Reports have surfaced that the remains of the oldest spider crabs that lived 100 million years ago have been uncovered.

Livescience.com reported that scientists have found the fossils of eight new species of crustaceans including the oldest known crab in the Koskobilo quarry in northern Spain.

The remains of eight new species of crustaceans, including the oldest known spider crabs that lived 100 million years ago, have been uncovered in a fossil reef in northern Spain, scientists report.

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A long with the ancient crab scientists also found other species of "decopod" crustaceans which included, shrimp, lobsters and crabs. The two oldest known spider crab species are Cretamaja granulata and Koskobilius postangusts, reported Live Science.

"The previous oldest one was from France and is some millions of years younger," said the  author of the study Adiël Klompmaker and also a postdoc researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the Unviersity of Florida. "So this discovery in Spain in quite impressive and pushes back the origin of spider crabs as known from fossils."

"C. granulatawas about 0.6 inches (15 millimeters) long and showed distinctive features to suggest it was a spider crab, including two diverging spines coming out of its rostrum (the extended portion of the carapace, or shell, in front of the eyes) and a somewhat pear-shaped carapace. The fossil spider crab also sported spines on its sides at the front of the body," reported Live Science.

The remains of eight new species of crustaceans, including the oldest known spider crabs that lived 100 million years ago, have been uncovered in a fossil reef in northern Spain, scientists report.

The group of scientists collected the fossils in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

"We went there in 2008, and in the first two hours found two new species," Klompmaker said in a statement the Oregan Herald reported. "That's quite amazing it just doesn't happen every day."

The reef where the fossils were found seemed to have somehow vanished after they lived said Klompmaker to Live Science.

"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," he said. "Not many decapods are known from the time after the reefs disappeared in the area."

The findings will be published in an issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.

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