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Dog-Sized Scorpio Discovered in China

A dog-sized sea Scorpion fossil has been discovered in the Lower Silurian area of South China, marking the first time such a huge eurypterid has been discovered in this part of the world. Terropterus xiushanensis gen. et sp. nov. is a member of the Mixopterids, a genus of eurypterids with modified arms coated with unique teeth-like features that were used to grab food in a basket catch while stalking the seafloor.

“Our knowledge of mixopterids is restricted to only four species in two genera,” according to professor Wang Bo of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, “all of which were based on a few fossil specimens from the Silurian Laurussia 80 years ago.” The study, which was published in Science Bulletin, adds to our knowledge of the global distribution of megafauna and their enormous biological variety.

The Scorpion T. xiushanensis was reported as being a metre long with a notably big prosomal limb with a unique spine arrangement. It stalked the shallow seas off Gondwanan, the primordial supercontinent that was one of the two parts of the old single landmass of Pangaea when it split apart. It existed between 443.8 million and 419.2 million years ago, according to scientists.

The authors of the study said that their knowledge of these animals is limited to only four species in two genera described 80 years ago: Mixopterus kiaeri from Norway, Mixopterus multispinosus from New York, Mixopterus simonsoni from Estonia and Lanarkopterus dolichos chelus from Scotland.

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