Ancient, Extinct Crustacean 'Dollocaris' Preyed With Monstrous Eyes

First Posted: Jan 20, 2016 12:02 PM EST

Scientists have discovered a 160-million-year-old crustacean-like marine creature that went extinct with the dinosaurs. This crustacean captured its prey with the help of its two monstrous eyes, each of them being a quarter of its total body length. The creature's eyes contained 18,000 lenses each, which has only been trumped by modern-day dragonflies. The researchers connected the crustacean's organs to 'Dollocaris ingens,' an extinct arthropod, which existed during the Jurassic period, according to a study. 

The fossilized remains were found in southeastern France, microscopes and various scanning techniques were used to examine the large eyes. The researchers believe that 'D. ingens' had a crab-like shell along with three pairs of clawed, segmented legs and eight pairs of short swimming appendages. 'D. ingens' was about 5 to 20 centimeters (2 to 8 inches) long and each of its eyes was a quarter of its body length, according to the researchers.

"To see and be seen changed everything - with eyes you could become a more effective hunter, while prey became more easily detectable," Jean Vannier, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "All this led to a new dynamic-for some to better protect themselves, for others to become better at detection, and new evolutionary pressures."

The study revealed that 'D. ingens' was a visual hunter that most likely ambushed its prey. The creature's eyes had similar features to some modern day insects and crustaceans.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Nature Communications.

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