Thursday, November 22, 2007

This One Time, the World Had Huge Crabs

Now this is what The OddBlog is all about... kinda.

European scientists claim to have found the claw of a prehistoric 8' sea crab!  The claw is nearly 400 million years old and was found in a Prum, German quarry.  It has been named Jaekelopterus rhenaniae.  The size tells scientists arachnids and insects (and similar creatures) were larger than even they once thought.  The largest modern scorpion is only 30cm.; the claw measures 46 cm!

Researchers theorize higher oxygen levels in the atmosphere may have led to the gigantic size of these and similar invertebrates, such as cockroaches.  The larger specimen would likely have been killed-off first by predators, as they are easier to spot.  While many would have lived entirely on land, others, like this one, would have led an aquatic or semi-aquatic life.

Scientists think Jaekelopterus rhenaniae lived in swamps, ponds, and similar environs.

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