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Giant centipedes once roamed the UK

Giant centipedes once roamed the UK

The largest fossil of a giant centipede has been found off the coast of northern England. The creature, measuring about three meters in length, is said to have evolved about 326 million years ago or about a hundred million years before the first dinosaurs.

It is one of the largest known arthropods in the world. The remains of this so-called creature Arthroplora In January 2018, it was discovered in a sandstone block near a cliff on the beach at Howick Bay in Northumberland (England).

It is a melting pot of sand that has been preserved for hundreds of millions of years. This is the third image found so far. It is the oldest and largest: section measurements About 75 cm long, When the original organism is measured It is about 2.7 m long and weighs 50 kg.

The fossil was cut with its sandstone block in May 2018, before being transferred to Cambridge University for detailed study.

Valuable information

These works, published in Journal of the Geographical Society, Revealed new information about animal habitat. Earlier reconstructions actually claimed that these giant centipedes originated in coal marshes. However, according to the panel based on the analysis of this model, Arthroplora Apparently open forest habitats near the beach are preferred.

At that time, there are approx 326 million years ago, Great Britain was near the equator. Moreover, Northumberland provided a more tropical climate.

Another important thing: was due to the large size of the arthroplora Oxygen peak Atmospheric carboniferous and recorded at the Permian end. However, this new fossil comes from the prehistoric rocks. So oxygen is obviously not the only explanation. Researchers believe a Food rich in nutrients This may have allowed the centipede to grow to such a large size.

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Unable to confirm what they were eating, they found plenty of nutritious nuts and seeds in the leaf litter at the time.“, The researcher notes.” They can also be predators that eat small invertebrates such as other invertebrates and waterfalls..

Credit: Neil Davis

We still have a lot to learn

There is still a lot to learn about these creatures, so these remains are very rare. To date no fossil head has been found.

We know that these animals orbited the Earth’s equator for about 45 million years before they became extinct during the Burmese period. The reasons for their disappearance are also uncertain. This may be due to global warming, which will make the climate for their survival much drier. The rise of reptiles eventually changed the dominance of these invertebrates.