Horseshoe can not do much to hunt your nightmares. Their rigid envelope conceals the pins and pliers, they use their long tail to turn and bleed milky blue blood. Think less "Sebastian of the Little Mermaid" and "Alien Facehugger."
But it turns out that cow cancer is neither a charming animated crustacean nor an alien species ̵
Chinchilla (Xiphosura) is already one of the strangest creatures in the animal kingdom. While only four species survive to the modern age, some of which grow about half a meter, these species have remained relatively unchanged for 450 million years, and through numerous massive disappearing events, giving them the nickname "living fossils." Since the blood of Xiphosura is so sensitive to toxins, scientists are also collecting the blood (which is a wonderful shadow of the blue sky) to be used to test for contamination of things like medical equipment. (The blood is so valuable that researchers in Florida have recently called on the public to report on hawk crab observations that mate in the next full moon, I'm sorry kids, Disney World seems to have to wait!)
Now a new research article published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and reported by National Geographic has shed horseshoe cancer in a new light. Investigating a number of genetic materials as well as data from genomic sequencing projects, researchers have traced the genealogy of the horseshoe tree
The find? They are actually classed as aquatic arachnids.
"This part of the tree of life has always been very difficult to solve," said lead researcher Jesus Ballesterous to National Geographic.
"But one of the things that was surprising in this analysis is that no matter how we treat the data, we consistently found the same results … horseshoe cancer is always invested in the arachnids [on the family tree]."
if you are arachnophobic, you can now comfortably add the underlying cancer to your list of fears.
And if you are a human being with your eyes, can you too.