Monsters of the Palaeozoic: sea scorpions

Monsters of the Palaeozoic: sea scorpions

Eurypterids are an extinct group of Palaeozoic aquatic arthropods.

Biology

Keywords

prehistoric creature, fossil, sea ​​scorpions, extinct, Eurypterid, Palaeozoic, history of the Earth, geologic epoch, Cambrian period, Permian period, abdomen, chelicera, chitin layer, armour, cephalothorax, carapace, arthropod, predator, carnivorous, arthropods, animal, biology

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Scenes

Eurypterids

Eurypterids, or sea scorpions, are an extinct group of Palaeozoic aquatic arthropods, the largest known arthropods ever to have lived. They were excellent predators and lived in seas or lakes. Although due to their elongated postabdomens and telsons, that is, the needle-like appendages, they looked similar to scorpions, they were not true scorpions. They belonged to the group Chelicerata and they were related to Arachnids.

The opistosome of the sea scorpions was covered with a rigid carapace. Their first pairs of legs were for walking and feeding, while their last pair of legs were modified into swimming legs.

Based on fossils that have been found, more than 200 species of Eurypterids are known, the most common of which was probably Eurypterus giganteus. Some larger specimens of this species reached 130 cm in length.

Mixopterus kiaeri grew to a similar size. This species was characterised by two sets of strong walking legs with long needles on them.

Megalograptus also had well-developed walking legs, and some specimens reached 170 cm in length.

The largest known Eurypterid was Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, which probably measured about 2.5 m in length and had terrifying, 40 cm long claws.

Swimming

Eurypterus giganteus

  • compound eyes
  • ocelli (simple eyes)
  • prosoma
  • opisthosoma
  • telson
  • postabdomen
  • carapace
  • swimming legs
  • walking legs
  • chelicera

Mixopterus kiaeri

  • compound eyes
  • prosoma
  • opisthosoma
  • telson
  • postabdomen
  • carapace
  • swimming legs
  • walking legs
  • chelicera

Megalograptus

  • compound eyes
  • prosoma
  • opisthosoma
  • telson
  • postabdomen
  • carapace
  • swimming legs
  • walking legs
  • chelicera

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae

  • compound eyes
  • ocelli (simple eyes)
  • prosoma
  • opisthosoma
  • telson
  • postabdomen
  • carapace
  • swimming legs
  • walking legs
  • chelicera

Comparison

  • Eurypterus giganteus
  • Megalograptus
  • Jaekelopterus rhenaniae
  • Mixopterus kiaeri

Animation

  • compound eyes
  • ocelli (simple eyes)
  • prosoma
  • opisthosoma
  • telson
  • postabdomen
  • carapace
  • swimming legs
  • walking legs
  • chelicera

Narration

Eurypterids, or sea scorpions, are an extinct group of Palaeozoic aquatic arthropods, the largest known arthropods ever to have lived. They were excellent predators and lived in seas or lakes. Although due to their elongated postabdomens and telsons, that is, the needle-like appendages, they looked similar to scorpions, they were not true scorpions. They belonged to the group Chelicerata and they were related to Arachnids.

The opistosome of the sea scorpions was covered with a rigid carapace. Their first pairs of legs were for walking and feeding, while their last pair of legs were modified into swimming legs.

Based on fossils that have been found, more than 200 species of Eurypterids are known, the most common of which was probably Eurypterus giganteus. Some larger specimens of this species reached 130 cm in length.

Mixopterus kiaeri grew to a similar size. This species was characterised by two sets of strong walking legs with long needles on them.

Megalograptus also had well-developed walking legs, and some specimens reached 170 cm in length.

The largest known Eurypterid was Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, which probably measured about 2.5 m in length and had terrifying, 40 cm long claws.

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