A new discovery has revealed that even the very first dinosaur had the chance, as humans do, to see an octopus and think to itself, “whatever that thing is, I don’t want any part of it.” You may have your own opinions on octopuses (and yes, it is octopuses, not octopi, for those of you looking to engage in English teacher cosplay) but personally, I’m on team Too Many Arms. With the single exception of drumming in an animated underwater band, I’m none too fond of the creatures that ask, is God real? And if so, are they kind of a freak? The world never needed stretchy, wet, soft spiders, and yet, they are here, stuck to the glass of your local aquarium.

AP reports that scientists Christopher D. Whalen and Neil H. Landman revealed their discovery on March 8th in the journal Nature Communications. The tiny nightmare was spotted in a fossil that had actually been unearthed in the 1980s, but evaded further examination until recently. Perhaps it looked like a natural geographic feature. Perhaps scientists saw it and simply felt the world didn’t need more things to go “ew” about. Whatever the circumstances, this little 4.7 inch freakazoid is now in your imagination, whether you like it or not.

The salient statistics: the specimen is now the oldest known ancestor of octopuses, estimated at 330 million years old, beating out the first dinosaurs by a neat hundo million. Originally discovered in Montana’s Bear Gulch, the fossil shows both an even MORE unsettling number of arms, at an even ten, and evidence of an ink sac. Scientists think the ink sac served much a similar purpose to the modern octopus, as a shrouding defense mechanism.

Diagram of newly discovered octopus ancestor

Fossil coleoid cephalopod from the Mississippian Bear Gulch Lagerstätte sheds light on early vampyropod evolution

It was cooler when it was just a rock.

They believe the creature provides the roots for both modern octopuses as well as the vampire squid, which is the second animal I wish I hadn’t learned about today. They’re identifying it as a vampyropod, which is a precursor to octopodiformes, which includes the two aforementioned subgroups.

Now, if you’re wondering why I haven’t given you its official name, it’s because I am personally still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that they decided to name it after… Joe Biden. No, not because it’s 300 million years old. According to the scientists, they named it Syllipsimopodi bideni after him in honor of his support for scientific research. It has a little bit of the energy of your cat bringing you a bird’s corpse as a gift, but I don’t have any animals named after me, so who am I to talk?

What do you think of this newest oldest octopus? Cool? Disgusting? Should scientists attempt to clone the ten-armed critter in a bid to make calamari production 25% more efficient? Let us know in the comments.

Plate of calamari

Pexels

Now I'm hungry and nauseous at the same time.

Top Image: Pexels

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