Researchers have found fossils of a Cambrian Period predator that resembles the Millennium Falcon. The fossil find was a wealth of information about an important predator in a key time period of the evolution of life.
Researchers in Canada have unearthed hundreds of fossils of a primordial sea creature that lived in the Cambrian Period 506 million years ago.
The foot-long (30-centimeter-long) predator, called Cambroraster falcatus, had a pair of jointed limbs, rake-like claws and a shield-like carapace that reminded scientists of the Millennium Falcon spaceship from the movie "Star Wars."
"With its huge head, small body and upward facing eyes, the Cambroraster superficially resembles a horseshoe crab, although in detail they are quite different animals," said paleontologist Joe Moysiuk of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the lead author of the research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Read more: T. rex was no Usain Bolt, say scientists
"Just like horseshoe crabs, we think Cambroraster spent its time hanging around near the sea floor, feeding on organisms buried in the mud."
Researchers found hundreds of fossils, including ones that showed the creature's complete structure, in Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies. They say it was a distant relative of today's arthropods, the diverse group of animals including insects, spiders and crabs.
During the Cambrian Period, defined as the period between 541 million and 485 million years ago, all animal life lived in the oceans. It was a time of evolutionary experimentation when all major animal groups first appeared and numerous odd species came and went.