Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I don't have a lot of time to write a blog post today . . .

. . . so here's a picture of an extinct giant sea scorpion.
From Science Daily:

The discovery of a giant fossilised claw from an ancient sea scorpion indicates that when alive it would have been about two and a half meters long, much taller than the average man.

This find, from rocks 390 million years old, suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were much larger in the past than previously thought.

Dr Simon Braddy from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, co-author of an article about the find, said, '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 realised, until now, just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were.'

The claw was discovered by one of Dr Braddy's co-authors*, Markus Poschmann, in a quarry near PrĂ¼m in Germany.
Apparently gigantism in ancient insects and other creatures that tend to the bite-sized nowadays has something to do with a richer oxygen supply in those times.

Here's Meganura monyi, the largest insect that ever lived:

Courtesy of Staab Studios