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Palaeontology

Prehistoric 5ft-long sea scorpion unearthed

By T.K. Randall
September 1, 2015 · Comment icon 5 comments

The enormous sea scorpion was about the size of a human. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Obsidian Soul
A previously undiscovered species of prehistoric sea scorpion the size of a human has been found in Iowa.
Known as Pentecopterus decorahensis, this ancient eurypterid lived around 460 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs first arrived on the scene.

"The new species is incredibly bizarre," said study lead author James Lamsdell. "The shape of the paddle - the leg which it would use to swim - is unique, as is the shape of the head. It's also big!"

More than 150 fossil fragments belonging to the new species were unearthed in all, something made possible by their preservation within thick shale at the site of an ancient impact crater.
"Perhaps most surprising is the fantastic way it is preserved," said Lamsdell. "The exoskeleton is compressed on the rock but can be peeled off and studied under a microscope."

The researchers believe that Pentecopterus may have walked on six legs rather than the usual eight and had hind legs covered in stiff bristles that helped it to feel its way around.

Given its huge size the species would have been a sight to behold in the prehistoric seas.

Source: Discovery News | Comments (5)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Father Merrin 9 years ago
It makes one wonder what yet to be discovered miraculous creatures once used earth as home!
Comment icon #2 Posted by OverSword 9 years ago
No Photos?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Infernal Gnu 9 years ago
I want one for my aquarium, that would be beyond cool.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Harte 9 years ago
Large Sea Scorpion fossils are not unknown: Jaekelopterus. Harte
Comment icon #5 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard 9 years ago


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