A recent analysis of the fossils of a prehistoric animal showed that it belongs to a completely unknown new species.
The specimen, owned by the University of Tasmania, was considered in 1989 as belonging to the genus Paleolimulus. These are arthropods – invertebrate animals that have a rigid exoskeleton that were related to horseshoe crabs that have survived to this day, inform the mbs.news portal.
But Dr. Russell Bicknell of the University of New England now established that the taxonomic designation was incorrect. In its study, it was confirmed that the animal did not belong to this genus, so it gave the fossil a new name, Tasmaniolimulus patersoni, including it in the Australian taxonomic family Austrolimulidae.
"It has large backward-facing thorns that do not exist in any of the related horseshoe crabs, being much smaller than the existing species today," he said.
The fossil, belonging to the University of Tasmania collection
The scientist said the thorns were likely to be an adaptation to the unidirectional freshwater flows where this species possibly lived.
Tasmaniolimulus indicates the location of the fossil and patersoni pays tribute to Professor John Paterson, who was the scientific advisor during his doctorate.
"John is a spectacular Australian paleontologist who contributed his insight to our invertebrate prehistory and supported me during my doctorate, encouraging me to be the best I could in science," said Russell Bicknell.
The new discovery shows that this rare species goes back to prehistory. Bicknell considers that this new species may serve as another example of Australian exceptionality, highlighting its existence since the divergence of the region began.