Scientists Find Fossil of Enormous Bug


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Hum

LONDON (AP) -- This was a bug you couldn't swat and definitely couldn't step on. British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some Smart cars.

The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study's three authors.

''This is an amazing discovery,'' he said Tuesday.

''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.''

Schneider, who was not involved in the study, said these scorpions ''were dominant for millions of years because they didn't have natural enemies. Eventually they were wiped out by large fish with jaws and teeth.''

Braddy's partner paleontologist Markus Poschmann found the claw fossil several years ago in a quarry near Prum, Germany, that probably had once been an ancient estuary or swamp.

''I was loosening pieces of rock with a hammer and chisel when I suddenly realized there was a dark patch of organic matter on a freshly removed slab. After some cleaning I could identify this as a small part of a large claw,'' said Poschmann, another author of the study.

''Although I did not know if it was more complete or not, I decided to try and get it out. The pieces had to be cleaned separately, dried, and then glued back together. It was then put into a white plaster jacket to stabilize it,'' he said.

Eurypterids, or ancient sea scorpions, are believed to be the extinct aquatic ancestors of today's scorpions and possibly all arachnids, a class of joint-legged, invertebrate animals, including spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks.

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.''

That competition ended long ago.

But the next time you swat a fly, or squish a spider at home, Braddy said, try to ''think about the insects that lived long ago. You wouldn't want to swat one of those.''

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JasonC

Is another one of those stories...390 MILLION years ago.....

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acies
Is another one of those stories...390 MILLION years ago.....

I wonder why you have a problem with that...

hidden agenda!!

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funkymunky

hahaha

Evolution rocks :)

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acies

Just image these things fighting... That's entertainment you can't buy. Unless....

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JasonC
I wonder why you have a problem with that...

hidden agenda!!

Because I opened my eyes along time ago.

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megamanXplosion

You have a problem with articles about "Scientists Find[ing] Fossil" so you open one and read it while knowing beforehand you wouldn't like to open one and read it. Then you chose to inform everyone--who desperately wanted to know of course--that you have problems with articles about "Scientists Find[ing] Fossil" that you continued to read anyway. When asked why you are willfully blind to history, you reply that your eyes are open. The absurdity of you even being in this thread, and the absurdity you're posting in it, should be painfully obvious to someone like yourself, whose eyes are open. Your whole charade in this topic was to essentially say, without actually saying, "Look at me! Look at me!"

Did anyone else here get a different impression of Cmor's posts?

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JasonC

If I wasnt interested in a topic, I wouldn't open it, I think its great all these things being found...But i believe things would be ALOT different than they are IF the world was "Billions" of years old.

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funkymunky
If I wasnt interested in a topic, I wouldn't open it, I think its great all these things being found...But i believe things would be ALOT different than they are IF the world was "Billions" of years old.

What are you smoking?? lol

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HellboundIRL
If I wasnt interested in a topic, I wouldn't open it, I think its great all these things being found...But i believe things would be ALOT different than they are IF the world was "Billions" of years old.

How old do you believe the earth is?

I'm just curious.

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megamanXplosion

All of the scientific evidence available converges on a date of billions of years old. You are more than welcome to create a new topic and seek to demonstrate otherwise.

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JasonC

All of the scientific evidence available converges on a date of billions of years old.

How do scientists know things were billions or millions of years old ? Were they there when things were made ? No.

You are more than welcome to create a new topic and seek to demonstrate otherwise.

I will when I have time.

I posted a while ago about a rock that scientist's said was millions of years old, How do they know that ? They don't... Inside was a 1920's spark plug, lol.

What I'm trying to say there, scientists can make a mistake there trying to tell the age of a small rock but how do they know ? Maybe they made mistakes with everything else.

How old do you believe the earth is?

I'm just curious.

While, I or nobody knows the EXACT age of the earth, I believe it is around 6000 years old.

I also beleive there was a big flood around 4500 years ago....

The earths population is ~6.6bn, 8 people can make that population easily is 4000 years.

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kernatch
Maybe they made mistakes with everything else.

how do you check if you made a mistake?

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kernatch
How do scientists know things were billions or millions of years old ? Were they there when things were made ? No.

:( i heard this in some clip of a fundamentalist giving a lecture to kids. he said this exact same thing. how old are you cmor, btw? not that age matters - i just like to know who i'm talking to :)

wikipedia has a good entry on the age of the earth. familiarise yourself with some of the techniques used. don't demonize science or scientists because of a few things you've been told.

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kernatch
The earths population is ~6.6bn, 8 people can make that population easily is 4000 years.

true. not long enough for humans to have evolved though.

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HellboundIRL
While, I or nobody knows the EXACT age of the earth, I believe it is around 6000 years old.

I also beleive there was a big flood around 4500 years ago....

The earths population is ~6.6bn, 8 people can make that population easily is 4000 years.

I don't see how that makes any sense to you, do you not question how some periods of history could overlap one another with such a short time frame? or do you just not believe in them? What are the chances of such a small amount of each species surviving after the flood?

We still believed the earth was flat up to 500-600 years ago, do you really believe what was in the Bible speaks the complete truth? I think we've come a long way from our ideas 2000 years ago and its safe to say these scientists that you discredit know a good deal more about the history of earth.

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funkymunky

Do you believe Dinosaurs were real????

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JasonC
true. not long enough for humans to have evolved though.

Yeah, IF they ever evolved...

"What are the chances of such a small amount of each species surviving after the flood? "

Yeah...Noahs arc.

"Do you believe Dinosaurs were real???? "

Yes, Unless someone planted them and its all a big hoax...

"do you really believe what was in the Bible speaks the complete truth?"

The most important thing about being a Christian is giving your heart to the Lord... Then you will start to see mroe truth.

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JasonC

And how do you know that, that is correct ?

They don't know the exact age of something so they create something to try to tell the age, whats to say that what they made to tell the age is completely wrong ??

There is no way to tell the age of something like that, so they just use something like that and then just go along with it, because there is no other explanation.

It wouldn't be the first time scientists were wrong...

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megamanXplosion
How do scientists know things were billions or millions of years old ? Were they there when things were made ? No.

Okay Hovind Jr., how do you know the universe was created by God? Were you there? No. How do you know evolution is false. Were you there? No. In actuality, your question is essentially an argument that's anti-induction, which means it's anti-rationality. Again, go to the library. Stock up.

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SirEvan

mmmm somebodies a religious nut..... :rolleyes: :whistle:

Cmor..put....down......the......bible.....slooowly and nobody gets hurt.

I'd like to know who these "8" people are that you speak of.

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JasonC

Call me a religious nut if you want... Im not religious btw, God dislikes religion.

"I'd like to know who these "8" people are that you speak of. "

I didnt say that, that is what happened.... re-read what I wrote.

I'll come back when i've done my research.

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