(ORDO NEWS) — British and American paleontologists have described the fossil of a giant sea scorpion, whose appearance was reconstructed from the preserved back of the animal, mainly from its tail and the so-called telson – a tail spike. An article about this was published in the journal Historical Biology.
A new species of sea scorpion has been named Hibbertopterus lamsdelli in honor of the well-known fossil sea scorpion specialist, American paleontologist James Lamsdell of West Virginia University.
Hibbertopterus lamsdelli belongs to a group of bizarre extinct aquatic arthropod eurypterids, in other words, crustaceans, sometimes reaching two meters in height.
A 305-million-year-old New Mexico fossil in the Manzano Mountains, near Albuquerque, is a sea scorpion about 1.2 meters long. The fossil was stored at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
“If you were swimming in the water 300 million years ago and encountered such an animal, it probably would not pose a danger to you, but personally, having met a four-foot scorpion swimming with me in the water.
I would prefer to get to the shore,” one of the authors of the article, paleontologist Spencer Lucas, curator of the Museum of Natural History and Science of New Mexico, commented on the find in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal.
Hibbertopterids were armored “sweepers” who used special spikes on their legs to stir muddy sediments in search of food consisting of small invertebrates.
Fossils of other hibbertopterids have also been found in Europe and South Africa. Sea scorpions died out about 252 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, but before that, most of them switched to life in fresh water.
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