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It looks like a space alien, or maybe a very deformed clam. But really, it's a re-creation of a 500-million-year-old life-form. New images show a sculpture of Agnostus pisiformis, a now-extinct arthropod that used to live in what is today Scandinavia. These creatures, just four-tenths of an inch (1 centimeter) long when they were alive, are nevertheless known in exact anatomical detail because they've been preserved so perfectly in shale and limestones. "The incredible degree of preservational detail means that we can grasp the entire anatomy of the animal, which, in turn, reveals a lot about its ecology and mode of life," Mats E. Eriksson, a geology professor at Lund University who commissioned the sculpted re-creation as part of a new paper in the journal Earth-Science Reviews, said in a statement. According to that paper, A. pisiformis started life as a larva and developed into adulthood by repeatedly shedding and regrowing its hard exoskeleton. Its body was protected by two shields that looked a bit like clam shells when the animal curled up. Little is known about the creature's ocean-going lifestyle, but it probably plucked bits of organic matter out of the water for food.