Scientists have discovered a new species of ancient sea cucumber after creating a 3D computer reconstruction of the creature from a 430-million-year-old fossil.
The discovery was made by a team of international palaeontologists, led by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, using a fossil discovered in a site in Herefordshire, UK. After reconstructing the image of the tentacled creature from the fossil, the team dubbed the species Sollasina cthulhu, after the terrifying monster Cthulhu from H.P. Lovecraft lore.
The team at Oxford recreated the 3D by grinding away thin layers of the fossil, taking individual photographs at each stage to create a ‘virtual fossil.’
The creature had multiple ‘tube feet’ tentacles that it used to crawl over the seafloor and capture food, according to the research team. The 3D render also revealed an internal ring — a first-time discovery for this group of extinct creatures — that most likely formed part of a vascular system of ‘fluid filled canals’ the creature used to move and feed.
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