Paleontologists have discovered a 1m long scorpion fossil that ruled the South China sea for approximately 400 million years ago.
The one metre long scorpion is given the name of Terropterus xiushanensis and it belongs to the extinct arthropod group called Eurypterids.
Species went extinct around 280 million years ago
This group of species first appeared during the Ordovician age or 480 million years in the past and reached its peak of diversity in the Silurian period (430 million years in the past). The group went extinct at the end of the Permian technology or approximately 280 million years ago.
Group referred to as mixopterids
The fossil is defined from the Fentou Formation from Wuhan, Hubei, South China. The new species had basket-like appendages for capturing its prey and so it got located under the group of eurypterids referred to as mixopterids.
“Our knowledge of mixopterids is limited to only four species in two genera, which were all based on a few fossil specimens from the Silurian Laurussia 80 years ago,” said lead author Han Wang in a release. She is from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
1st one to be discovered in Gondwana
The other 4 species of mixopterids had been formerly said to be from Norway, New York, Estonia, and Scotland. This is the first-ever report of mixopterids from Gondwana. “Future work, especially in Asia, may reveal a more cosmopolitan distribution of mixopterids and perhaps other groups of eurypterids,” adds the paper recently published in Science Bulletin.
The new species had an enlarged limb and was characterized by a completely unique association of spines. The team provides that this big arthropod might also additionally have an essential position as one of the top predators. By reading the distinction in morphology, they wish to get to the bottom of the complicated evolutionary records and dating of this group.