Paleontologists dug up the fossilized claw of a giant sea scorpion. They reckon the thing may have been 8 feet (!) long. It’s called
Jaekelopterus rhenania, and is apparently 400 million years old.
I came across the article on Boing Boing, and delved into a few of the other articles. A few random, key quotes.
“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.”
CBC had this to say:
“This is an amazing discovery. 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,” said co-author Dr. Simon Braddy from the University of Bristol.
Some geologists believe that the giant arthropod evolved due to high oxygen levels, while others argue that they evolved in an “arms race” alongside their prey, the early armoured fish.
It’s awesome that Dr. Braddy calls ‘em “creepy-crawlies.” And armored fish? Sweet. I need to work these things into a short story or game sometime soon. Be like Clash of the Titans (one of the good parts).
If I ever get Rock Band I’m so going with Giant Cannibal Sea Scorpions.