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© Christian LEMZAOUDA / Sylvain CHARBONNIER / CR2P / MNHN / CNRS Images



Prawn in the moonlight

Rediscovered in the collections of the MNHN French national museum of natural history, this specimen of Aeger insignis comes from the Solnhofen Limestone, in Germany. This small crustacean lived in a lagoon in the Late Jurassic around 140 million years ago. At that time, what is now Europe was a vast archipelago with turquoise waters and a tropical climate. This prawn belonged to an extinct family whose main feature was that it had highly-developed jawfeet (also known as maxillipeds) endowed with long removable spines, which the animal could use as “rakes” to search for food in the sediment. Ultraviolet light reveals very fine anatomical details invisible in normal light (such as spines, grooves and pores), making it possible to correctly identify the species of fossil. This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.

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