The discovery of a five-eyed shrimp-like creature that lived about 520 million years ago may end a long-running debate about the evolution of Earth’s most common animals.
Arthropods, ranging from lobsters and crabs to spiders and millipedes, make up around 80 percent of all animal species alive today and are characterised by their hard exoskeleton.
But their evolution has long remained something of a mystery, because their ancient ancestors carry a variety of features that their modern counterparts do not.
Enter Kylinxia zhangi, a shrimp-like creature preserved in fossils found in China’s Yunnan province — a discovery that researchers now say could be a key “missing link” in arthropod evolution.
Like today’s arthropods, Kylinxia had a hard shell, a segmented body and legs with joints.
But the ancient creature also had characteristics in common with even older animals, leading researchers to name it after the “Kylin”, a creature in traditional