The oceans are full of predators, even if swimmers only seem to be on the lookout for stingrays, jellyfish and the very scary sharks that are known to make a lot of victims, especially during the summer.
However, scientists report that oceans are now free of extremely serious threats. In the past, they used to be filled with large, very dangerous creatures that are now long gone.
A study led by researchers from Yale University reveals that about 460 million years ago a huge scorpion that measured 5.5 feet (1.7 meters) was one of the most dangerous predators inhabiting the seas of the oceans.
Its name is Pentecopterus , which was the name of a Greek warship that sailed in ancient times. It had an enormous, paddle-like tail, a strong head shield and huge limbs that it used to tear its prey.
“The new species is incredibly bizarre. The shape of the paddle – the leg which it would use to swim – is unique, as is the shape of the head. It’s also big – over a meter and a half long!,” said James Lamsdell, from Yale University, who is the study’s lead author.
Along with his team of researchers, he recreated the Pentecopterus and included pictures of it in the study. The frightening scorpion is part of the eurypterid species. These are types of predatory invertebrates that have gone extinct. There seems to be a connection between them and spiders and lobsters.
According to scientists, they would live in shallow oceans and seas and their existence could be traced during the Permian and Ordovician periods. This means they have gone extinct between 460 to 248 million years ago.
The new type of scorpion is believed to be the largest of the species and it is definitely the oldest scientists know about.
Lamsdell said that the characteristics of the Pentecopterus show that the eurypterids actually evolved about 10 million years earlier than researchers had previously thought.
Moreover, the relation between this predator to other animals of the species it belonged to, proves there was a lot of diversity within the group during that early period of their evolution, in spite of the fact that they are extremely rare to find in the fossil record.
&Image Source: theguardian