A giant sea crustacean with a build designed to kill has been found fossilised off the coast of a popular tourist spot.
The 500 million-year-old fossil were discovered at Emu Bay Shale on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island by researchers from the University of
The creature has a terrifying physique with ‘crushing’ legs and a ‘shredding’ spine made for eating and killing, with scientists describing the crustacean as the ‘T-Rex of the trilobites’.
They named it the ‘Redlichia rex’, in tribute to the dinosaur.
The fossil (pictured) has been named Redlichia rex and was found on Kangaroo Island in South Australia
James Holmes (pictured) one of the researchers who made the discovery believes the creature would have been a terror to other small sea creatures
‘(It had) formidable legs with spines used for crushing and shredding food, which may have been other trilobites. This giant trilobite was likely the terror of smaller creatures on the Cambrian sea floor,’ head researcher from the University of Adelaide’s School of biological sciences, James Holmes said.
The creature belongs to the extinct group of trilobites, which were crustaceans and insects that had their skeletons on the outside of their bodies like armour.
The creature had distinct features like crushing legs and shredding spines that made it a large threat to other prey
This group of animals became extinct 250 million years ago.
The creature discovered at Kangaroo Island was the largest trilobite ever recorded in Australia, measuring up to 30cm, double the size of other animals of its kind.
Researchers believe it developed distinct features to deal with an ‘arms race’ of evolution between prey and predators and came at the time of the Cambrian explosion, a period where nearly all animal groups suddenly appeared over half a billion years ago.
The new species was 30cm in length, double the size of other trilobites (pictured is artist Katrina Kenny’s impression of the Redlichia Rex)
‘The overall size and crushing legs of Redlichia rex are are a likely consequence of the arms race that occurred at this time,’ Mr Holmes said.
‘The large size of injured Redlichia rex specimens suggests that either much bigger predators were targeting Redlichia rex, or that the new species had cannibalistic tendencies.’
Fossilised faeces were also found within the crustaceans remains.
The team of scientists found the fossil in Emu Shale Bay (pictured)