Mesoparapylocheles Michaeljacksoni
Michael Jackson Crab

Crab walk, meet moon walk. In a new paper, an international team of scientists announced the discovery of a new family of prehistoric hermit crabs and made a novel tribute to Michael Jackson at the same time. The paper, published this month in German journal Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, details the discovery of the first known species in the family. Its name? Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni.

No, the crab doesn’t dance or change color over time; the name was the result of a coincidence. The specimen was identified June 25, 2009, and the researchers were in a restaurant later that day when they saw on TV that the King of Pop had died.

“Michael Jackson’s music will no doubt live a very long time and influence many people so I think the name is appropriate,” said co-author Adiël Klompmaker, a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Geology at Kent State.

The crab, which lived in Northern Spain around 100 million years ago, was a surprising find. According to a statement released by Kent State, hermit crab fossils like the one the team found are “much rarer than those of true crabs…Today, less than a dozen of these [fossils] are known and a great deal of information concerning the evolution of this group remains undiscovered.”

We might never have heard of the discovery if not for the MJ reference.

Crab,– Symbol of the Moon. Emotional intensity and powerful intuition that ebb and flow with the tides. The appearance of the crab is a call to examine issues of sensitivity and to find an outlet for emotional release. The crab needs all of its senses to survive, using everything and unwilling to discard anything. They are able to resist changes and flourish in hostile environments. The lesson of being able to change focus and to walk and run sideways in order to confuse enemies.