February’s Fossil of the Month is this spectacularly prepared fossil crab that seems to crawl out from the rock!
The Harpactocarcinus is an extinct mud crab that has been found in Europe, Africa, and North America. The well preserved claws and spiny carapace–or hard upper shell–are characteristic of this species. It probably had similar eating habits to its modern-day ancestors and ate worms or decomposing organisms within its muddy environment.
Despite the Harpactocarcinus punctulatus being 50 million years old, this crab looks like one that might scuttle past you on the beach today!
Eocene (~50 million years ago)
Lutetian Formation, Avesa, Verona, Italy