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Sea scorpion fossils

Sea scorpion fossils

E442/0615

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Credit

HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HERVE CONGE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sea scorpion fossils. Rock containing two fossils (brown) of Eurypterus sp. eurypterids, often named sea scorpions. The eurypterids are extinct aquatic arthropods. Their closest living relatives are the horseshoe crabs. The eurypterids lived from 480 to 270 million years ago (the Ordovician to Permian periods). They walked and swam in salt water and in fresh water, and some may have been amphibious and able to walk on land. They were predators, and the largest reached over 2 metres in length, with most being under 20 centimetres long. The jointed, tapering body ended in a tail-spike (telson). Four pairs of legs were used for walking (not clearly seen) with the largest fifth pair at the rear forming flattened paddles (as seen here).

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