The prehistoric sea scorpion, a relative to the spider, has been discovered in northeastern Iowa — and it’s human sized.
Jennifer Viegas via Discovery:
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The previously unknown species of sea scorpion, Pentecopterus decorahensis, was named after an ancient Greek warship, the penteconter, and is described in the latest issue of the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
“The new species is incredibly bizarre,” lead author James Lamsdell of Yale University said in a press release. “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!”
Lamsdell and his colleagues excavated more than 150 fossil fragments from the ancient predator, which lived 460 million years ago, long before the first dinosaurs emerged. The site itself is noteworthy, as the fossils were entombed in thick shale located within an ancient meteorite impact crater that today is mostly submerged by the Upper Iowa River.