The eyes of a larva, the mouth of shrimp, claw toad frogs and lobster shell: the anatomy of ancient cancer recently discovered in the heart of the Andes is so bizarre, described by researchers as "Wonderful Nightmare".
With roaches on his legs and large bulbs of his eyes, he reminded scientists of the chimera, the mythological monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a snake tail.
It took years for the investigator Javier Luque correctly identifies them a cancer that he named Callichimaeraperplexa.
"It translates into a confusing, confusing, beautiful chimera," said Luke, a postdoctoral paleontologist at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta and Yale University
"It looks like something completely different from cancer."
After several years of research, scientists have confirmed that the tiny bit was actually cancer, although very strange.
He acknowledges that the identification of the creature has become an obsession.
"It's wonderful because the preservation is exceptional," said Luc. "But the confusing nature of this particular anatomy has become a nightmare.
"We could not understand where it fit, because it was a whole new branch."
Fossilized crabs, recovered from the Andes in 2005, date from chalk time when the area was covered with shallow marine waters.
Animals with pockets would have spent most of their lives swimming and hunting meals with their small, but powerful claws.
I decided to smear a hammer once more.– Javier Luque
Luke discovered the samples during a month-long expedition near Pescara, Columbia, after a long day of hiking through mountain ranges looking for fossils.
"I decided to smear my hammer once more before I went home and then struck the layer completely covered with fossils and invertebrates," said Luke in an interview with CBC Radio Edmonton AM.
"And among all these wonderful shells, this was the one who looked like a spider who was most confusing.
"It's when we are first aware of this animal, but it was a long journey to figure out where it fits into the big picture."
More than 70 perfectly preserved samples were found in the soft clay bed in the rising of the rocks.
Enigmatic crabs, no greater than two, offer great insights into the evolution of modern crabs, said Luc.
Although the characteristics of some species became more pronounced over time, crabs adapted to their environment, becoming less "cancer-like."
"They are more complex than we thought," he said. "They became much stronger.
"It shows that some species can go the other way."
From its discovery, the same crabs were discovered by paleontologists in Wyoming and North Africa, said Luc.
The scientific fanfare of his discovery has Luke's dream of Hollywood, and more paleontological research in the mountains, of course.
"We hope people will enjoy this wonderful chimera which some people call the next star of Pixar or maybe SpongeBob.
"I hope to capture some imaginations, because it's certainly a nice, wonderful nightmare."
Luke's conclusions on cancer were published this month Progress in science.