CNN is reporting about a 390 million year old fossil of a scorpion found a few years ago in Germany, but this ain’t your garden variety arachnid.
This scorpion was eight feet long. Think about that.
EIGHT FRAKKIN FEET LONG.
This is the stuff of little girls’ nightmares, let me just tell you.
“We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But we never realized until now just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were,” he said.
The research found a type of sea scorpion that was almost half a yard longer than previous estimates and the largest one ever to have evolved.
The study, published online Tuesday in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, means that before this sea scorpion became extinct it was much longer than today’s average man is tall.
Prof. Jeorg W. Schneider, a paleontologist at Freiberg Mining Academy in southeastern Germany, said the study provides valuable new information about “the last of the giant scorpions.”
There’s more below the fold.
Let’s put that in perspective, shall we?
Also from the CNN article:
Braddy said the fossil was from a Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, a kind of scorpion that lived only in Germany for about 10 million years, about 400 million years ago.
He said some geologists believe that gigantic sea scorpions evolved due to higher levels of oxygen in the atmosphere in the past. Others suspect they evolved in an “arms race” alongside their likely prey, fish that had armor on their outer bodies.
Braddy said the sea scorpions also were cannibals that fought and ate one other, so it helped to be as big as they could be.
“The competition between this scorpion and its prey was probably like a nuclear standoff, an effort to have the biggest weapon,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of years ago, these sea scorpions had the upper hand over vertebrates — backboned animals like ourselves.”
You can find the abstract of the paper here at Biology Letters, the journal of The Royal Society, but you’ll have to pay for the full paper.
From whence came the art:
The second is an AP image accompanying the CNN story.