back to article Behold, the MONSTER-CLAWED critter and its terrifying SPIDER BRAIN

Boffins have uncovered the earliest known complete central nervous system in a never-before-described water-spider-like creature that prowled the ocean 520 MILLION years ago. A fossil of the megacheiran Leanchoilia illecebrosa, showing its characteristic forceps-like great appendages The massively clawed beast is an example …

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  1. 8Ace

    A working brain?

    They may want to apply that research to some of the current US Republican politicians. My bet is the megacheiran scores higher on brain capacity.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: A working brain?

      They may want to apply that research to some of the current US Republican crop ofpoliticians. My bet is the megacheiran scores higher on brain capacity.

      Fixed that for you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A working brain?

      Somehow I guessed someone would post that really early on. But you have been beaten to it. It was either Stephen Jay Gould or Steve Mirsky who once remarked of a creature that has a very small head and almost no backbone that it was surely destined for a career in the House of Representatives.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: A working brain?

        The former British prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home tells in his memoirs of major surgery to his back. Afterwards he said to the surgeon, "Congratulations! You have put backbone into a politician".

        They did not do much for his brain, though. He used matchsticks to figure out economics.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: A working brain?

          In some ways using matchsticks is preferable to using imaginary money backed up by resources that also don't exist.

  2. Frankee Llonnygog

    The most important question

    Did it taste good?

    And, how does the answer bear on the subsidiary question of why marine creepy-crawlies taste so good, and land-based nasties so bad?

    Don't keep me in suspense boffins - the IPO of my land-lobster farm project depends on your answers.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The most important question

      Who said that land-based creepy-crawlies taste bad? In many countries they are considered a tasty snack- it's just our social conditioning that makes us go 'Urgh!'. Being rational about it, locusts live in nice clean air, shrimps in sewage-contaminated water.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The most important question

        Prawns, fleas of the sea.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: The most important question

          cockroaches of the sea, more like.

          Still, super-tasty*

          *not tasty enough to tempt me to try cockroach, though

          1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

            Re: The most important question

            Fried, and with chips - why not?

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: land-based nasties so bad?

      Eat a Honeypot Ant and tell me that doesn't taste good!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great, a giant scorpion-spider hybrid with huge venomous fangs and claws that could crush a bus.

    Makes nice dream fodder, thanks guys.

    1. xperroni
      Mushroom

      "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

      Great, a giant scorpion-spider hybrid with huge venomous fangs and claws that could crush a bus.

      Giant? The article says the critter had a length of three centimeters! Hardly a stompful, actually.

      I know you islanders and your colonies just can't let go of that retarded rollercoaster of a measurement system, but do try to keep in touch with the conventions of the 20th century* will you? Here, let me help.

      * Yes, the 20th century. I'm trying to be reasonable with you guys, one step at a time and all that.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

        Giant? The article says the critter had a length of three centimetres

        To be fair to the OP, the article also describes it as a "massively clawed beast", which might suggest a giant beast, even though it probably only means that the claw is massive (relative to the creature's size). And OP is talking about dreams, not reality, so accurate measurements or units hardly apply...

      2. Maharg
        Mushroom

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

        While I did find your comment amusing (and even gave it a upvote) I would like to point you in the direction of ahistory lesson I posted a while back.

        After the British defeated the French, for the 14th or 15th time, a proclamation was sent out around the world saying the British Empire had Imperial measurements and they are only for those strong of heart and mind, the world cowered in awe at the fact we managed to rule all the important bits of the world while measuring them in stupid things like Inches, Feet, Yards, and Furlongs, this was the strong of mind, no French man could figure these distances out.

        Strong of Heart came from the Imperial Pint, Gallons and Yards of Ale, No French man could drink that much, and our weapons and our men weighed Pounds and Stones, No Frenchman would dare bring something that weighed a few kilograms to a fight against something that was so heavy it was measured in Stones.

        Unfortunately because the Yanks sucked up to the French they got rid of Imperial until they realized the French drink beer in small glasses with Peach juice in and had to beg the British to let them use Pints again.

        But we said NO, you rejected the British Pint, and for that you will be punished with slightly smaller beer quantities forever! God Save the Queen!

        True Story.

        1. xperroni

          Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

          After the British defeated the French, for the 14th or 15th time

          I'm sorry, I can't remember: was that time before or after the Normans conquered England?

          Or was it closer to when the French took away Normandy – making it so that not only had Normandy been forcibly inserted into the England kingdom, but also pulled off in the same manner?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

            Check your history. The Normans (and William) were not French. There is also an awful lot of history between 1066 and now (it's, like, almost 1000 years!). Also, consider that England was not subsumed into France but that the Norman invaders slowly went native and then fought many times against "the old country".

            1. xperroni

              Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

              Check your history. The Normans (and William) were not French.

              You could just as well have argued that the peoples they conquered weren't British, as the Normans themselves are part of the modern British people's ancestry.

              Doesn't matter. Spin it whatever way you like, it's mainlanders 1 x 0 islanders all the same.

              Also, consider that England was not subsumed into France but that the Norman invaders slowly went native and then fought many times against "the old country".

              So the badass Normans went native and were promptly kicked off their old lands. Somehow I don't think this makes things any better.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Maharg

            Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

            I know geography is not an American strong point, but when referring to ‘British’ we are talking about more than just England, and I don’t remember the Normans ever controlling Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

            Here is a good video explaining it by (of all people) an American!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10

            1. xperroni

              Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

              I know geography is not an American strong point, but when referring to ‘British’ we are talking about more than just England

              Oh, I'm sorry. So likewise, when Maharg wrote:

              After the British defeated the French

              He actually meant:

              After the English rounded up their vassals to face up the French, because sure as Hell they wouldn't have the guts to do it on their own

              Right?

          4. Resound

            Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

            The Normans were just transplanted Vikings anyway. (Norman meant "north men") Now hush or I'll bring up Agincourt...oops, too late.

            1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

              Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

              Aussies have there own version of football too. Not sure how large the field is.

        2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit @xeperroni

          Well, historically speaking, Britain has definitely shown a lot more "stones" than the French :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

        Yeah, you are right. I should have stuck a joke icon on it for the benefit of the humorously challenged.

        Though I'd have thought the mention of the word dream would have given you a clue.

      4. Big-nosed Pengie

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

        Television tells me that the current, single standard unit of measurement in the US and, apprently, the UK, is the football field. They never say which brand of football, however.

        1. DanceMan

          Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

          The Canadian football field is bigger and wider. Sniff.

      5. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

        "Great, a giant scorpion-spider hybrid with huge venomous fangs and claws that could crush a bus."

        It was a Hot Wheels bus though!

      6. Wzrd1

        Re: "Giant" is not a valid metric unit

        "Giant? The article says the critter had a length of three centimeters! Hardly a stompful, actually."

        True, they're the size of salad shrimp.

        So, a bunch of them are a "stompful, actually." :)

        As for measurement systems, sorry we didn't adopt that French system. We're still fixated on a system of measures derived from a king's johnson or something. ;)

        Besides, it's fun to confound you. Many a fine night was spent educating some of the Queen's subjects on what federal, state and county governments were, their Constitutional basis, the history involved and the abuses that spurred the separations of authority.

        Though, I'll admit, it wasn't such a long session that we came close to running out of beer.

        BTW, how many stone do you weigh?*

        *For those non-conversant, the stone is relatively unknown in the US, but a rather common, imperial measurement in the UK.

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Alien

    Am I the only one

    who thinks "great appendage" is scary from both a rapey and a crushy/choppy point of view?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one

      "All of the genus also had long, scissorlike feelers attached to their head, most likely used to grasp things "

      Or they were the Atlantean's auto-barbers. Quick haircuts, not for the squeamish.

      1. Blane Bramble
        Joke

        Re: Am I the only one

        Crabward Scissorhands?

  5. Paul Renault

    Behold, the Mighty Craw!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftgAG3Vnif8

  6. John Stirling

    convergent evolution

    different phylum, bigger, and more importantly, exists now!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5FEj9U-CJM

    makes your 'giant claw' thing look like... well lunch.

  7. Daedalus Silver badge

    Ooh scary

    The beast was actually about 6 centimetres long. Most of the "great claw" species were, er, shrimps by comparison with even a small modern crab. Betcha all these photos are cropped to remove the size ruler.

    1. Wzrd1

      Re: Ooh scary

      Ah, but the sensory layout of Alalcomenaeus does tell us something. Olfactory and visual bulbs are of equal size, implying both senses were equally important to its survival.

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Gah!

    Truly a magnificent example of a giant marine crabroach.

    I'll never go in the sea again.

    The question remains: Did this form any part of the diet of the Cavemen, or did they just eat dinosaur?

  9. Soap Distant

    Good article

    Much better than the Beeb's offering imho. As usual.

    SD

  10. Gordon 11

    The massively clawed beast is an example of a megacheiran, an extinct group of creatures

    Is it just co-incidence that this story is in the middle of the Microsoft Windows 8.1 rollout ones?.

  11. big_Jim
    Mushroom

    It is a Spider then

    Kill it now, before it breeds.

    Oh....

  12. Fogcat

    That second picture reminded me a lot of Flow

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28video_game%29

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