Real-Life Cthulhu: Scientists Discover Fossil of Prehistoric Creature With 45 Arms, Name it for Lovecraftian Monster

Friday, 12 April 2019 - 11:01AM
Science of Sci-Fi
Friday, 12 April 2019 - 11:01AM
Real-Life Cthulhu: Scientists Discover Fossil of Prehistoric Creature With 45 Arms, Name it for Lovecraftian Monster
< >
Elissa Marton/Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
It sounds like it should be coming from Miskatonic University or the pages of an H.P. Lovecraft novel, but it's real. A team of researchers from Yale, Oxford, the University of Leicester, Imperial College London, and University College London have identified a new species after discovering a 430 million-year-old fossil of a ocean-dwelling creature with 45 tentacle-like arms. Or legs. Or something.


Their discovery, announced on April 10 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal, describes the creature, which the scientists named Sollasina cthulhu as a "new species of echinozoan," which makes it a relative or ancestor of sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Yale News reports that S. cthulhu used its appendages – called "tube feet" by the researchers – to propel itself along the ocean floor and capture food. The News further reports that the specimen was quite small, about the "size of a large spider."


The creature was discovered the in the UK's Herefordshire Lagerstätte, a site that has yielded many fossil discoveries by paleontologists.
Science
Weird Science
Science of Sci-Fi