At first glance, the stone seems a little inconspicuous, and it was found only by chance. But a sense of fossils is fossilized in him: the largest known invertebrates of all time. It is the fossil of a part that once belonged to a giant millipede. Generally it was Arthropods An animal with a length of about 2.7 meters and possibly up to 50 kilograms in weight has been identified, Neil Davies of the University of Cambridge and his team write in the Journal of the Geological SocietyPrehistoric sea scorpions outnumber previous record holders.
The fossil was discovered in 2018 when a large sandstone boulder smashed into a cliff in Howick Bay in Northumberland and fell ashore. The piece was so completely shattered that it released the fossil inside of it intact. A former doctoral student in the group found him while walking. It took four people to take him away for examination.
In the lab, Davis and Company identified it as the remains of the millipede worm that lived in the area during the Carboniferous period 326 million years ago. At that time the area was still near the equator and therefore in tropical climates. Many of the early invertebrates and amphibians at that time only existed near lakes and rivers; There they feed on vegetation or hunt each other. also the part of Arthropods It ended up in an arm of the river where it was covered in sediment and transformed over time. The working group assumes that the millipede did not die at that time, but shed its skin and petrified the exoskeleton.
So far, only two other fossils are known Arthropods. Both are found in Germany, but they are much smaller. “We haven’t found a fossilized head yet. So it’s hard to know everything about it,” says Davis. It is perplexing, for example, why these animals became so large. Until now, it was thought that there were mainly giant invertebrates when atmospheric oxygen levels were higher. indeed Arthropods lived before that time. He also needed a very nutritious diet. “We can’t say for sure what they ate, but there were probably a lot of nutritious nuts and seeds in the leaf litter at the time. They were probably predators that fed on other invertebrates and maybe small amphibians,” says Davies.
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