Nature Wants You to be a Crab

According to some evolutionary biologists, nature wants to make humans, and every other complex creature, into crabs. There's a term for it introduced by biologist L.A. Borradaile: carcinization. In non-science-y terms, carcinization is defined as “the tendency for evolution to evolve things that are not crabs into crabs."

And it seems to be true. So much so that marine scientists have to identify crab-like creatures as true crabs and false crabs. Currently, this phenomenon exists only in other crustacean animals in the water, but who knows? Humans could be next! 

Did you know one of the most popular false crabs is an Alaskan King Crab? It's not a true crab! It is speculated that the Alaskan King Crab evolved from a hermit crab, also not a true crab! And a Horseshoe Crab is more closely related to a spider or scorpion than a true crab! Who knew?!

Crabs are some cool cats (figuratively speaking). They can move in any direction even though they mainly walk sideways, they are super fast in water and on land, they are super strong with powerful front pincers, and they have a protective shell. The more that I think about it, being a crab seems like a really great deal to me!

I don't know what the next false crab will be nor do I think evolution will ever get around to experimenting with humans anytime soon, but if it ever happened...well...I think I’m okay with that (of course, I’ll be long gone by the time it happens, so why should I care?)

In preparation for our impending crab-ocalypse, here are some books about life as a crab.

Crabby Crab

Christmas Island Red Crab Migration

You're A Crab!

When Crabs Cross the Sand

The Clever Crab


The blog was originally published by HCPL blogger, Jennifer L. in January 2021