Scientists have named a 245 million-year-old horseshoe crab fossil after Darth Vader because of its striking similarity to the film villain.
The unusual shape of the animal’s head shield resembles the helmet worn by the infamous character from the movie series.
The fossil of the now extinct animal was found in Idaho by palaeontologists, who have just published a scientific article describing the extinct horseshoe crab.
A group from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque dubbed the fossil Vaderlimulus tricki.
Tricki pays tribute to the man who found the fossil, whose name is Trick Runions.
It is the first North American fossil horseshoe crab from rocks of the Triassic Period when dinosaurs and mammals were just beginning their evolutionary development.
When horseshoe crab fossils are found they are often new to science, as is the case with Vaderlimulus.
There are only four species of horseshoe crabs alive today, and their populations are decreasing.
They are not true crabs but are more closely related to scorpions and spiders.
Modern horseshoe crabs are often considered to be living fossils due to having shown little apparent change in physical appearance over a vast period of geological time.
Allan J Lerner, lead author of a study into the fossil, said: ‘Vaderlimulus has unusual body proportions that give it an odd appearance.
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