How mantis shrimp evolved many shapes with same powerful punch. Duke Today, Feb. 27, 2015. The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean whose front claws can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour blow akin to a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun. A Duke University study of 80 million years of mantis shrimp evolution reveals a key feature of how these fast weapons evolved their dizzying array of shapes — from spiny and barbed spears to hatchets and hammers — while still managing to pack their characteristic punch. Picked up by the daily news feed of the National Science Foundation.