The Truth About The Newly Discovered Sea Star Whose Body Is Covered In Teeth

Living fossils cover vast regions of our planet, including the ocean's depths. These captivating creatures are believed to have developed millions of years ago and miraculously preserved their original form (via Encyclopedia). From Komodo dragons (via Smithsonian Magazine) to elephant sharks (via Scientific American), living fossils provide us with an unusual porthole into our ancient world.

Up until this moment in time, we had no idea that the ancient world was absolutely swimming with pig snouts and teeth; some facts are just too strange to be fiction. Hailing from the volcanic ridge of Banc Durand comes a new species of brittle star, which are now known for these unique characteristics (via Live Science).

The recently discovered living fossil has family members that likely survived the Jurassic Period 180 million years ago, at a time when the seas were teeming with giant crocodiles and dreaded ichthyosaurs. Nevertheless, this is a bit less surprising once you consider this brittle star's uniquely terrifying appearance. If you're picturing a spider-like deep sea-swimmer with jagged fangs all over its skin, your imagination is pretty close to reality.

This newly discovered living fossil has skin of teeth and arms of pig snouts

While its features sound a bit more like a curse from a sea witch than the description of a sea creature, rest assured it's the latter. This newly discovered ocean wonder hails from the Ophiojuridae family and was found in the tropical waters of the South Pacific. Invertebrate curator and study leader Tim O'Hara claims that tropical environments are optimal places for finding living fossils because these regions date back to dinosaur eras.

"Ophiojuridae" roughly translates from Greek to English to "serpent," which is certainly an apt title. The new and only Ophijuridae family addition is distinct from common sea star species because it has eight arms as opposed to five or six, and possesses far more ancient DNA. In the case of the snout-clad brittle star, the full technical name is Ophiojura exbodi, but you can just call it "another reason to not go swimming in the ocean in the final days of summer."

Live Science describes the Ophiojura exbodi as possessing arms that "act like meat hooks to ensnare" its prey. In case you're wondering what a feeding ritual performed by an Ophiojura exbodi might look like, here's a glimpse: Eight snout-covered, tooth-infested arms spiral out, capturing prey in a sticky, mucus-like substance before shredding it to death and devouring it. Take that, you puny dinosaurs!