NEW YORK — Fossils of a wacky-looking, 7-foot-long sea creature are providing new clues about how limbs developed in the family of animals that includes lobsters, crabs, scorpions and insects.

The fossils of the ancient sea creature were found in Morocco. Their discovery is reported by researchers at Yale and Oxford universities in a paper released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

The creature lived about 480 million years ago, and belongs to the family of animals called arthropods. It looked a bit like a huge lobster without claws, and with a long pointy nose. On each side it had two rows of flaps that were precursors to limbs seen in modern arthropods.

The lower flaps were for propulsion through the water and the upper ones for steering.