Scientists in China have discovered one of the most peculiar prehistoric organisms ever found.
Described as being like a ‘mythical beast’, this bizarre helmeted wormlike animal lived in the ocean around 500 million years ago and had a series of spikes like cocktail sticks running down its back.
Known as Orthrozanclus elongate, the species is quite unlike anything else on the fossil record.
“Odder still, its head is covered by a small shell, almost as if it’s wearing a bike helmet,” said Martin Smith, an assistant professor at Durham University.
“We don’t know much about the animal underneath these mineralised plates – whether it had legs or a slug-like foot, [and] whether it had teeth or tentacles.”