This ancient nine-foot-long, 100-pound centipede could be the largest invertebrate to ever live | Smart News
According to a study published in the Journal of the Geological Society this week. It could be the “biggest bug that ever existed,” knocking down sea scorpions like the previous record holder, Katie Hunt reports for CNN.
In 2018, a group of scientists traveling to Northumberland, a county in northeast England, discovered the fossil when a giant sandstone boulder fell from a cliff and crashed into the beach, reports Harry baker for Live Science.
“It was a fluke for a discovery,” senior author Neil Davies, a geologist at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement. “The way the boulder fell, it cracked and exposed the fossil perfectly, which one of our former doctoral students spotted in passing.”
After analysis, the scientists discovered that the rock contained about a 30-inch segment of the fossil, although the animal would have been more than three times that size. They determined that the creature belonged to the long-extinct genus. Arthropleure, David Nield reports for Scientific alert.
“It is rare to find these giant centipede fossils, because once they are dead their bodies tend to disarticulate, so it is likely that the fossil is a molting shell that the animal has thrown in. as it grows, “Davies said in the statement. “We haven’t done that yet. Found a fossilized head, so it’s hard to know everything about them.”
For example, the team can’t determine for sure how many legs the centipede had, but they estimate it had 32 or 64, reports Hannah Seo for Popular science.
Arthropleure glided around the Earth for about 45 million years during the Carboniferous Period, a time when England was located near the equator and experienced a tropical climate. The centipede’s monstrous size may have been due in part to a high concentration of atmospheric oxygen, but it is more likely that a diet of nuts, seeds, and perhaps other animals stimulated its thrust. growth, according to the press release.
However, the genre became extinct during the Permian Period, possibly due to climate change or the emergence of reptiles, which may have beaten the leggy creatures, reports CNN.