The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Ticino octopus species is christened “Chuchichäschtli”

Zurich researchers have discovered fossils of a previously unknown species of octopus in Ticino - and christened them "Chuchichäschtli". This is because the fossil, which is around 242 million years old, lay in the Chuchichäschtli for a long time before its significance was recognized.

"At first we thought about naming the species after a colleague," said Christian Klug, professor of palaeontology at the University of Zurich (UZH), when asked by the Keystone-SDA news agency on Thursday. "But the fossil is so unsightly that we didn't want to do that to anyone." Instead, they therefore christened the octopus "Ticinoteuthis chuchichaeschtli".

The fossils were found decades ago at the world-famous fossil site on Monte San Giorgio TI. Since then, they have been stored in a box at the UZH Institute of Paleontology. Klug recently re-examined the collection together with Alexander Pohle. Pohle came across the previously unknown cephalopod species.

"Lots of new species in drawers"

It is not unusual to come across a new species in a collection, Klug explained. "There are plenty of new species waiting in drawers," said Klug. "The species living today make up only about one percent of all the species that have ever lived," said the researcher. Paleontologists - i.e. researchers who study fossils - are few and far between.

The researchers presented the newly discovered species in the "Swiss Journal of Palaeontology".


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