Researchers and scientist at Yale University discovered an extinguished creature, an arthropod that used to live in the ocean, specifically the sea bottom, and that used to take care of its babies in a strategy similar to holding a kite.

The 430 million-year-old bug was described as an animal that had its babies attached to its body with something similar to a leash or a string. A scientist named this rare arthropod Aquilonifer Spinosus. Aquila means kite or eagle in Latin, and Fer means to carry. But it was assigned a nickname, The Kite Runner, after the novel by Khaled Hosseini with the same name.

Illustration by D. Briggs, D. Siveter, D. Siveter, M. Sutton, and D. Legg. Credit: Redorbit

“Here we report a new arthropod with 10 tiny arthropods tethered to its tergites by long individual threads,” Derek Briggs, from Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, said. “The evidence suggests that the tethered individuals are juveniles and the association represents a complex brooding behavior.”

There is only just one fossil found so far, but it shows the way this animal used to live. It can be seen that there was not just one creature but, in addition to it, there were also small specimens, 10 babies in different stages of development, attached to the body of the mother by strings.

The Kite Runner was less than 0.5 inches long and had a shield that protected its head, with structures similar to antennas over it. It is also evident that the animal had 12 pairs of legs.

This animal used to move around carrying its babies attached to its body looking like if they were little kites. The babies were considered parasites feeding on the mother. But eventually, they needed to separate from her to get more and better nutrients.

The strategy used by this arthropod, aside from being already extinct, is different from other crustaceans and animals of the same species. Other arthropods have different kinds of childcare strategies, either total neglect or keeping the babies close. The Aquilonifer Spinosus belongs to the last category.

Source: CBS