326 Million Years Old Car-Sized Millipede Fossil discovered

Jay Kakade
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Giant Millipede Fossil
Image Shoeing the Giant Millipede Fossil dating back to 326 Million Years. (Image Credit: Neil Davies)

Scientists have made a shocking discovery of 326 Million years old fossil which reveals the traces largest Millipede ever discovered. This Millipede length up-to 2.9 meters (nearly 9 feet).

The esteemed Millipede belongs to Carboniferous Period i.e. 100 million years earlier than arrival of dinosaurs. Discovery was made along the northeast coast of United Kingdom. Remains are from extinct species of Arthropleura genus of Arthropod Millipede. This species is now ranked as the largest known Millipedes.

Earth scientist Neil Davies says, "It was a complete fluke of a discovery. The way the boulder had fallen, it had cracked open and perfectly exposed the fossil, which one of our former PhD students happened to spot when walking by."

"It was an incredibly exciting find, but the fossil is so large it took four of us to carry it up the cliff face."

Ancient Millipede
Image Showing Ancient Millipede Fossil. (Image Credit: Neil Davies)

Recovered specimen measures to be 75 centimetres but the actual creature may be bigger than this. Researchers claim it may have been weighed around 110 pounds. The largest Millipede fossil reveals much more about ancient times and ancient Millipedes.

In Carboniferous Period, United Kingdom must be closer to Equator as it matches with recent Arthropleura finding. Earlier only two Arthropleura fossils (Dating back to Carboniferous Period) were discovered in Germany which were relatively smaller in size.

This findings suggest invertebrates like millipedes must be living near the coal swamps, Eventually this findings too died here turning into coal.

Modern science believes the Arthropods can't grow such big in size as the Oxygen levels are not high enough to cope up with their methods of breathing.
But this fossils dates before the period of atmospheric peak in oxygen. This indicates the oxygen level is not only factor influencing the size of Arthropods.

Ancient Millipede Size
Illustration of Size of Ancient Millipede. (Image Credit: J.W. Schneider. TU Bergakademie Freiberg)

Researchers suggests, huge size of millipedes states that this period lacked predators but abundance of food sources. Team has not been abled to decipher their diet as there were plenty of seeds and nuts or they even be predators that feed on other animals. Arthropleura animals lived on equator for more than 45 million years and went extinct in Permian Period. The extinction is not clear may be due to rise in reptiles which feed on these creatures.
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