Strange old animal - level 3
It was discovered more than half a century ago, but researchers have finally pieced together the fossils of a bizarre prehistoric creature that had teeth in its throat.
The team at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada identified what they believe to be the features of the creature's head, including simple eyes and needle-like teeth. It's now known as Hallucigenia and had a worm-like formation. It was about 5 centimetres long with seven pairs of legs ending in claws and long spines sprouting from its back. Its mouth was encased in teeth which also lined its throat and may have been able to flex in and out as it drew in food.
The University of Cambridge, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the University of Toronto worked together to create their study published in the journal Nature.
Doctor Caron from the Royal Ontario Museum said when they put the fossils in the electron microscope, they were initially hoping to find eyes and were astonished to find teeth smiling back at them. He also said the creature is distantly related to modern-day insects and died in mud 508 million years ago.
Difficult words: piece (to put), bizarre (strange), creature an (animal), feature (a part of something that you notice because it seems important), claw (a nail), sprout (to grow), encased (enclosed), flex (to move), draw (to pull), astonish (when something surprises or amazes you).
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