- uploaded: Sep 9, 2008
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These curious crabs are found in Japan, near where one of the greatest sea battles of Japanese history occurred. In the year 1185, the forces of the warring Heike and Genji clans fought the Battle of Dannoura. The Heike were defeated, dozens of their ships were sunk and hundreds of heavily armored warriors lost their lives in the unforgiving sea.
People who found these distinctive little crabs on the shore reasoned that they embodied the souls of the lost Heike soldiers. As you can see, the markings and protuberances on the backs of the crabs look astonishingly like classic samurai faces!
The late Carl Sagan suggested that humans have had a significant effect on both the look and the prevalence of these human-faced crabs. Sagan theorizes that local fisherman threw back the most prominently human-featured crabs, thus skewing natural selection towards that exact attribute. An early form of selective breeding, perhaps?