Every year in the middle of the Nevada desert (USA) burning man, one of the most famous arts festivals in the world. To achieve this, over the nine days of the event, thousands of artists, activists and visitors populate Black Rock City, a traveling city nestled amidst the dust and heat of America’s great sandy coast.
This year, despite the expected high temperatures, an unprecedented event occurred: a storm hit days before the end of the event that began on August 27th. But not only that. In the middle of the flood that soon formed, mysterious creatures appeared: “Dinosaur shrimp‘.
Triops and fairy shrimps – small crustaceans – lay dormant in the desert sediment in the form of eggs for years until floods created the right conditions for them to emerge to the surface.
While several of the 70,000 participants were stuck in Black Rock City (due to the large amount of mud in the area) and wanted to escape, the little animals had just arrived. The Bureau of Land Management reported that it is normal for fairy shrimp to hatch during spring floods and that there are organizations and volunteers to help protect them.
What are dinosaur shrimp like?
Triops is a genus of small, three-eyed crustaceans. According to the IFL science portal, they are known as dinosaur shrimps because they are among the oldest living things on the planet. For example, the species Triops cancriformis It has existed for around 220 to 250 million years.
The Guinness Book of Records recognized Triops cancriformis as the oldest living creature in 2010, finding that they had not changed their shape in 200 million years. According to I Naturalist, they have two internal compound eyes (which can detect rapid movements) and a simple one in the middle. Its body and head are covered by a flattened, oval shell.
Triops can grow up to 7 centimeters in size and their thorax consists of about 11 segments. They feed on plankton, insect larvae, worms and even tadpoles. They usually live at the bottom of puddles and lagoons.