Carcinisation
November 14, 2020 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Animals Keep Evolving Into Crabs, Which Is Somewhat Disturbing: "groups of crustaceans have evolved into crabs in five completely different contexts, giving rise to a meme that the long arc of history truly bends toward the crab."
It’s not just superficial shape that unifies the five evolved crab forms. The paper details neurological commonalities, shared circulatory systems, and more, while also detailing the organ and systems that differ in shape and size.
One hundred years of carcinization – the evolution of the crab-like habitus in Anomura (Arthropoda: Crustacea) - "Curiously, not only did the crab-like habitus evolve independently from the 'true' crabs (Brachyura), it also evolved three times independently within anomurans... Although enormous morphological disparity is observed in the internal anatomy of the crab-like taxa, reflecting the fact that the evolution of the crab-like habitus was indeed convergent, various corresponding dependences are found across the different lineages between the external characters of a crab-like habitus/morphotype and inner structures. In other words, as a result of carcinization certain structural coherences led to the specific internal anatomical patterns found in crab-like forms."

Why Do Things Keep Evolving Into Crabs? - "For some reason, animals keep evolving into things that look like crabs, independently, over and over again. What is it about the crab's form that makes it so evolutionarily successful that non-crabs are apparently jealous of it?"

also btw...
Losing flight had huge benefits for ants, new study finds - "Their study, published in Frontiers in Zoology, examines the hypothesis that loss of flight in worker ants is directly connected to the evolution of greater strength."[1,2]
posted by kliuless (40 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a certain Sturgeon warned us, ninety percent of everything is crab.
posted by eponym at 4:50 PM on November 14, 2020 [57 favorites]


...this evolutionary process has occurred on at least 5 separate occasions in the last century alone.[from the BoingBoing link]
What? Five new species or genera or something evolved in the 20th Century? I suspect this is BoingBoing being as silly as any other media outlet reporting science and that the writer is confused between the identification of the long evolutionary pathways and the process. But am I wrong? Is evolution of crustacean-like creatures very very fast? (That's not my reading of the paper linked as evidence.)
posted by CCBC at 4:51 PM on November 14, 2020 [6 favorites]


I can tell you that I've definitely gotten crabbier over the last few years.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:57 PM on November 14, 2020 [37 favorites]




"...Which Is Somewhat Disturbing"

Disturbing, or... delicious?
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:09 PM on November 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


Why not The Lobster? :(
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:40 PM on November 14, 2020


My diet has done something similar on at least five separate occasions. It keeps turning back into carbs.
posted by biogeo at 5:43 PM on November 14, 2020 [29 favorites]


This sounds like something out of a DND campaign
posted by Kitchen Witch at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]




CCBC, I think you're reading the paper correctly, and BoingBoing is being confused - the paper talks about the history of the study of this process:
This process has been called ‘carcinization’ by the English zoologist Lancelot Alexander Borradaile in 1916. In this paper we summarize the results of our recent studies into the evolution of the crab-like morphotype (i.e. carcinization) and into possible structural dependences (i.e. coherences) between the external morphology of a crab-like habitus and inner organs.
But the time periods that they mention are much wider than that, with Table 1 in the paper showing three different crab-like taxa that have known dates in the fossil record: one from 163–145 million years ago, one from 12–5 million years ago, and one from 200–170 million years ago. The other two taxa do not have known dates in the fossil record.
posted by wesleyac at 6:04 PM on November 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Why Do Things Keep Evolving Into Crabs?

Dream of crabifornication
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:27 PM on November 14, 2020 [22 favorites]


What is it…? Something’s not quite there… Oh, yes! We get it! It just doesn’t look delicious. This sky does not seem yummy at all. Everyone is still hungry, yes? Can’t you see that, silly? Speaking of delicious, We say crab. Most certainly crab.
Mmmm! Looks yummy! But no, no, not yet. Patience is a virtue. Focus, We must focus. To make the yummiest Cancer possible, all you have to do is roll up as many, many crabs as you can find. Let’s see… you have 5 minutes. We look forward to a mouth-watering katamari, callow Prince.
Wheeee, that looks delicious! But also slightly disturbing. Oh well. Let’s take the yum-yum Rainbow back.
Barf… Too crab-intensive and kind of gross… Anyway… What? crabs? Fab! Fabulous! This is it! This is what We wanted! Crab! Crab! A sea of crabmeat! Crab heaven! This looks incredibly yummy. We are on step closer to the finest starry sky there is. Oops! We are drooling. All righty, let’s just release it into the sky.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:31 PM on November 14, 2020 [20 favorites]


Is this why my city had like 25 new crab boil restaurants open this year?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:35 PM on November 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


Abolish the carcinisation evolutionary state.

(you heard me, Baltimore Crabs)
(yes, it's a blaseball comment)
(all comments are blaseball comments now)

posted by curious nu at 6:36 PM on November 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


We have welcomed the carcinized overlords from the far future, and they is us.
posted by otherchaz at 6:48 PM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]


Shout out PBS Eons ! It's been one of my favourite pandemic discoveries, and the source of many of my fun facts.

In addition to the excellent video on carcinization, here are some other goodies:
When Dinosaurs Chilled In the Arctic
How The Egg Came First
How Blood Evolved (Many Times)
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 6:51 PM on November 14, 2020 [3 favorites]


Decarcinization is a potentially useful word, applied to someone who's becoming less of a crab.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:15 PM on November 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


When the world is running down / You evolve into something that eats off the ground
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:17 PM on November 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


My last change of job was definitely a sideways move, so I am doing my part.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:22 PM on November 14, 2020 [17 favorites]


Is this why my city had like 25 new crab boil restaurants open this year?

Same. Along with all the new poke joints it's making my low-crab diet hard to stick to.

Semi Unrelated: one of the crab places is called So Crab, So Good, which is one of my favourite names for anything, ever, as it seems like it should be a pun, but I can't tell how.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:58 PM on November 14, 2020 [7 favorites]


The thing you have to be really careful about is if carcinization becomes cancerization. Then you know it's metathesized.
posted by biogeo at 8:07 PM on November 14, 2020 [4 favorites]


So Crab, So Good ... it seems like it should be a pun

So Claw So Good would have been better.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:32 PM on November 14, 2020 [3 favorites]


The whole matter began, so far as I am concerned, with the historic and unprecedented Vermont floods of November 3, 1927.
posted by glonous keming at 8:53 PM on November 14, 2020 [3 favorites]


/r/awwducational:
The horned ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) has a top speed equivalent to 100 times their body length per second. This is comparable to an average 5'9" (175 cm) human running at 391 mph (175 m/s).
Verified
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:34 PM on November 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


“So Claw So Good would have been better.”

Best in New England.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:11 AM on November 15, 2020


This is comparable to an average 5'9" (175 cm) human running at 391 mph (175 m/s).

Marvel used to explain away Spider-Man's super-strength by saying he had "the proportionate strength of a spider". Why not a speedster hero with "the proportionate speed of a crab"?
posted by Paul Slade at 12:35 AM on November 15, 2020


What is it about the crab's form that makes it so evolutionarily successful that non-crabs are apparently jealous of it?

Lamarckianism never quite goes away, does it?
posted by Grangousier at 2:11 AM on November 15, 2020




“The arc of history is long, but it bends toward crab”
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:03 AM on November 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


>-(")-<
posted by hypnogogue at 7:18 AM on November 15, 2020 [6 favorites]


Cancerians, yo!
posted by sundrop at 7:29 AM on November 15, 2020


Eugene H. Krabs was, as a restaurateur, both a genius and a monster.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 8:15 AM on November 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


"Not 'craw', CRAW!!" - The Claw
posted by sneebler at 9:23 AM on November 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Looking ahead a bit:

Looking round me again, I saw that, quite near, what I had taken to be a reddish mass of rock was moving slowly towards me. Then I saw the thing was really a monstrous crab-like creature. Can you imagine a crab as large as yonder table, with its many legs moving slowly and uncertainly, its big claws swaying, its long antennæ, like carters’ whips, waving and feeling, and its stalked eyes gleaming at you on either side of its metallic front? Its back was corrugated and ornamented with ungainly bosses, and a greenish incrustation blotched it here and there. I could see the many palps of its complicated mouth flickering and feeling as it moved.

“As I stared at this sinister apparition crawling towards me, I felt a tickling on my cheek as though a fly had lighted there. I tried to brush it away with my hand, but in a moment it returned, and almost immediately came another by my ear. I struck at this, and caught something threadlike. It was drawn swiftly out of my hand. With a frightful qualm, I turned, and I saw that I had grasped the antenna of another monster crab that stood just behind me. Its evil eyes were wriggling on their stalks, its mouth was all alive with appetite, and its vast ungainly claws, smeared with an algal slime, were descending upon me. In a moment my hand was on the lever, and I had placed a month between myself and these monsters. But I was still on the same beach, and I saw them distinctly now as soon as I stopped. Dozens of them seemed to be crawling here and there, in the sombre light, among the foliated sheets of intense green.

posted by doctornemo at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2020 [3 favorites]


I was just reading the other day about how sabre-toothed tigers aren't all one thing, and mostly aren't cats! But the giant sabre teeth just kept independently evolving in multiple lineages. There are felidae, but also nimravidae (closer to mongooses), and marsuipals, and creodonts. I had no idea!

(The article also said they kept going extinct relatively rapidly because the sabre teeth made them TOO GOOD at hunting, which feels like all the sabre-toothed tigers like to go to interviews and say, "My biggest weakness? I care TOO MUCH and work TOO HARD.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2020 [12 favorites]


Did-A-Chick? Dad-A-Chuck?
posted by Occula at 2:14 PM on November 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


Turns I really should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
posted by kimota at 2:20 PM on November 15, 2020 [9 favorites]


My cousin gave birth to a crab last year, I thought it was a fluke.
posted by bendy at 2:11 AM on November 16, 2020 [1 favorite]


My mind went straight to the Pterry/Stephen Baxter Long Earth series, and specifically The Long Mars, which features a crab civilisation on one of the planes
posted by Myeral at 4:25 AM on November 16, 2020


snap, snap, out of my way! :P
posted by kliuless at 9:16 PM on November 16, 2020


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