The University of Cambridge has just discovered a giant centipede. He would have lived there 326 million years ago.
What if England was once the land of animals from a science fiction movie? Indeed, for several weeks, excavation teams on the British island have been making a series of great discoveries. While the country already Rich in human history spanning thousands of yearsNow researchers are beginning to find traces of a life we didn’t even suspect.
In fact, a few million years ago, the Earth was nothing like what it is today. With very different types, a world in which everything was so much bigger. Long before the dinosaurs, nearly 100 million years before their arrival, the world was already full of strange creatures, of XXL dimensions.
Fossil older than dinosaurs
Among them is a three-meter centipede, which has just been discovered dug into a sandstone rock near a cliff on the beach in Howick Bay in Northumberland, on the border with Scotland. This fossil was discovered in January 2018, and is believed to be over 326 million years old.
For researchers, this is an important discovery in order to better understand life on Earth, Before the dinosaurs. It is actually the third specimen discovered in the world, and it is also the largest and oldest that has yet to be found.
With the fossil measuring 75 centimeters long, the scientists concluded that the animal must have measured about 2 meters 70, if not more, for a weight of “only” 50 to 60 kilograms. Thanks to this discovery, scientists at the University of Cambridge, where the fossil was studied, can now say that this is an ancient centipede that lived in forests by the sea, in a tropical climate, like England 326 million years ago.
A completely different land from ours
With the continental drift, the British island moved in the entire northern hemisphere of the planet, but the latter was in the heart of the Earth, at the level of the equator, providing a hot and humid climate for its inhabitants. According to scientists, the peak of oxygen in the atmosphere, which occurred at the end of the Carboniferous period (300 million years ago) is responsible for such a very large volume.
Researchers also believe that this giant centipede benefited from a diet very rich in protein, which allowed it to gain more height over the course of its life.
Today the centipedes that we know still live in England, but they are never more than 20 cm, for the largest specimens. On the scale, they display only 2 or 3 grams, far from the 50 kilograms of their distant ancestor.
Study text can be found here
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