Walking Cactus

diania

Diania is an extinct genus of animal found in China, represented by a single species: cactiformis. Known during its investigation by the nickname ‘walking cactus,’ this remarkable organism belongs to a group known as the armored lobopodians and has a simple worm-like body with robust, spiny, and apparently jointed legs.

Its significance is that jointed legs are the defining character of the arthropods and Diania may thus be very close to the origins of the most diverse group of animals on the planet. Diania also suggests that that arthropodization (i.e. the appearance of hard ring-like, joints around the legs), evolved before arthrodization (i.e. hard, ring-like segments, around the body).

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