Wednesday, November 21, 2007

". . .More things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

A fearsome fossil claw discovered in Germany belonged to the biggest bug ever known, scientists say. The size of a large crocodile, the 390-million-year-old sea scorpion was the top predator of its day, slicing up fish and cannibalizing its own kind in coastal swamp waters.

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae
measured some 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long, scientists estimate, based on the length of its 18-inch (46-centimeter), spiked claw.

The find shows that arthropods—animals such as insects, spiders, and crabs, which have hard external skeletons, jointed limbs, and segmented bodies—once grew much larger than previously thought, said paleobiologist Simon Braddy of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

"We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, supersized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies," he added. "But we never realized, until now, just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were."

Which is to say, jeepers creepers.


Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Speaking of over-sized arthropods...

Also, I wonder if giant sea scorpions tasted anything like lobster, as coconut crabs (see above) do. That would make them considerably less terrifying, especially with clarified garlic butter.

11:43 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Crap. You and your three-line blog titles.

Here's the giant crab link again.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...


wonder what they taste like?

12:52 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...


This hermit crab with its intimidating size and strength has a special position in the culture of the islanders. The coconut crab is eaten by the Pacific islanders, and is considered a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, with a taste similar to lobster and crab meat. The most prized parts are the eggs inside the female coconut crab and the fat in the abdomen. Coconut crabs can be cooked in a similar way to lobsters, by boiling or steaming. Different islands also have a variety of recipes, as for example coconut crab cooked in coconut milk.

Okay, now I'm hungry.

2:37 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

How do the scientists know that the scorpion was cannibalizing its own kind? Could be a perfectly friendly creature subsiding on krill and seaweed.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Don't know how scientists came to know that, Snoop.

2:18 PM  

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