Millipede fossil found — whole critter likely 8 1/2 feet long, 110 lbs!


Fossilized exoskeleton fragment

Researchers in the U.K. have found the fossilized exoskeleton of the largest arthropod to have ever lived. These giant millipede-like creatures were the length of a car and likely roamed Earth during the Carboniferous Period, between 359 million and 299 million years ago.

The monstrous millipede ancestors, known as Arthropleura, were already known to scientists, but the discovery of the new fossilized exoskeleton fragment confirms that these ancient invertebrates could grow to be much larger than previously expected.

Researchers discovered the new Arthropleura fossil, which is around 326 million years old, inside a fragmented block of sandstone on a beach in Northumberland in northeast England in 2018. The exoskeleton fragment is 2.5 feet (75 centimeters) long and 1.8 feet (55 cm) wide. This means the individual that molted it would have been around 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) long and weighed around 110 pounds (50 kilograms), according to the researchers.

Must admit I am not a big fan of millipedes.

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