Above picture: Petrified shrimp of the species Aciculopoda mapesi, found in Oklahoma. At the bottom of the picture: a shrimp species living today. Credit: Rodney Feldmann / NOAA
Read More Around 360 million years old is the fossilization of a shrimp discovered by US researchers in Oklahoma. The fossil is amazingly well preserved, so even the muscles are recognizable. The approximately eight-centimeter-long prawn shrimp lived in the depths of an ocean that once covered today's Oklahoma (USA). The oldest shrimp in the world is possibly also the oldest proof of all so-called decapods - the ten-legged crustaceans, which include the lobster, for example, in addition to today's shrimp. The fossilized prawn is an important step in the exploration of the evolution of decapods, researchers say. Rodney Feldmann and Carrie Schweitzer from Kent State University's Department of Geology report on their investigations. The impressive fossil was originally discovered by paleontologist Royal Mapes of Ohio University in a rock in Oklahoma. Feldmann and Schweitzer therefore called the prawn shrimp "Aciculopoda mapesi" after their discoverer. In the rock there were other fossils of some of today no longer existing groups of marine animals, such as ammonites. Shrimps, on the other hand, still exist today - and have hardly changed over the millions of years, as the comparison of the fossil with today living species shows.

That even structures of the muscles can be detected in the tail of the shrimp, according to the researchers, a very rare feature. Feldmann suspects the reason for this unusually good state of preservation in the way of life of the animal in the deep sea: "Here the ocean currents could not destroy the dead animal. The muscle tissue was then preserved by a combination of acidic water and oxygen deficiency until the shrimp was covered by sediments. "

Rodney Feldmann and Carrie Schweitzer (Kent State University): Journal of Crustacea Biology, Vol. 30, Vol. 4, p. 629 dapd / science.de? Martin Vieweg

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