London 3/5/2011 12:00:00 AM
News / Nature

Walking cactus found

Evidence of a "walking cactus" has been found in China.

The fossils of an ancient, spiny creature with a worm-like body and and ten pairs of armored and likely jointed legs were found during an excavation in southwestern China's Yunnan Province.

Study leader Jianni Liu said: "I was really surprised. I said, 'What's that strange guy with the soft body with very strong legs?'"

Although the newfound animal is a lobopodian - a primitive group of creatures that flourished in the Cambrian seas - it looks more like a modern arthropod -joint-limbed animals such as spiders and crustaceans.

Therefore its existence strengthens the theory that modern arthropods evolved from lobopodians.