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An excerpt from

Jungle Gems: A Naturalist's Tale

Yikai Zhang

It was then that a peculiar object poking out of the ground caught my attention. A piece of twig stuck in the mud, perhaps? I leaned over to take a closer look, and, for a moment, I could have sworn that my heart stopped beating. In my mind, there was no doubt that the strange object before me once belonged to an insect, but at the same time I could not imagine what kind of creature could possess such extraordinary appendages. I took it from the mud and swivelled it between my fingers. Outstretched, the leg measured nearly five inches long, and was equipped with spikes and claws that seemed far too large for an insect. If it existed, it would probably be the arthropod equivalent of Deinocheirus, as I felt equally baffled by it at the time. All of a sudden, the atmosphere of the jungle seemed to thicken, and as the night descended I was left to ponder over the curious relic in the palm of my hand.