Science. Fossil of a centipede “as big as a car” discovered

“How many shoes would a giant centipede need?” Ask the scientists at The Geological Society, a British scholarly society, on Twitter. “We may find out! “, he says. On December 21, the company revealed that the centipede fossil found on a beach in Howick Bay in Northumberland, England in January 2018 was “the largest insect ever found.”

It would have been 2.63 m long and 55 cm wide for 50 kg. And so will be “as big as a car” according to the study. Arthropleura, as the scientists named it, would steal the place of the largest invertebrate in history from ancient sea scorpions.

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The creature is believed to have lived during the Carboniferous period, about 326 million years ago, 100 million years before the arrival of the dinosaurs. It must have lived 45 million years before disappearing, but the reason for their extinction is unknown. This may be due to the evolution of a climate to which these insects could not have adapted, or to the advent of reptiles that would have dominated this type of habitat.

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“It’s Hard To Know Everything About Them”

It is only the third Arthropleura to be discovered so far. “Finding these giant centipede fossils is rare, because once they die their bodies fall apart, so it is likely that the fossil is a shell that the animal has lost over time. As it grows ,” said Neil Davis, professor of sedimentary geology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, in a statement. We haven’t found a fossilized head yet, so it’s difficult to know everything about them,” he adds.

“It was pure luck,” the researchers also recall of the discovery. The rock broke off, revealing the fossil, finally discovered by a former doctoral student. It was an incredibly exciting discovery, the fossil is so big that it took us four people to get it up to the cliff,” says Neil Davis. The other two Arthropleurs, which were found in Germany, were much smaller than this new specimen.

At the time, Great Britain was on the equator, which would explain this difference in morphology. Invertebrates certainly lived off the vegetation that grew in rivers and streams, which would have favored their development. The fossil will be displayed to the public in 2022 at the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, England.

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