'World's largest' fossil crab claw dating back to 8 million years discovered in New Zealand

Crab with "world's largest" fossil claw is called Pseudocarcinus karlraubenheimeri, Southern Giant Crab

By Web Desk
February 28, 2024
The massive fossil crabs "form the basis for a new species of ‘Southern Giant Crab’" say the researchers. — Barry WM/File

In New Zealand, the well-preserved remains of an ancient giant crab have been discovered which has the largest claw dating back to 8 million years.

The recently found species is known as Pseudocarcinus karlraubenheimeri, or the Southern Giant Crab, according to Interesting Engineering.


The fossilised remains of the ancient monster were purportedly discovered on Waitoetoe Beach, located around 240 kilometres south of Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand.

These remarkably preserved specimens are 8.8 million years old.

The upper Miocene geological epoch, which lasted between 23 and 5.3 million years, corresponds to this period.

Moreover, the fossilised bones of these crabs were found buried in silt layers that were left behind by the offshore Mohakatino Volcanic Center's previous volcanic eruption. Between 14 and 8 million years ago, this region is said to have been active.

“The well-preserved, articulated specimens were found buried in sediments which include reworked volcanogenic material. The crabs inhabited a deep marine setting. This is the first evidence that Pseudocarcinus inhabited the region that is now New Zealand,” the authors mention in the study paper.

The discovery is especially noteworthy because of the size of its cheliped, or claw, which is around 15 cm in length. This is thought to be the largest cheliped that has ever been found.