Three words: Monster sea bug
Three words: Monster sea bug This rendering provided by Yale University shows a Pentecopterus decorahensis. Earth’s first big predatory monster was a weird water bug, newly found fossils show. Almost half a billion years ago, Earth’s dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 5 feet 7 inches with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a new study. (Patrick J. Lynch/Yale University via AP)
Three words: Monster sea bug
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Earth's first big predatory monster was a weird water bug as big as Tom Cruise, newly found fossils show.
 
Almost half a billion years ago, way before the dinosaurs roamed, Earth's dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 5-foot-7, with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a study.
 
Scientists found signs of these monsters of the prehistoric deep in Iowa, of all places.
 
Geologists at the Iowa Geological Survey found 150 pieces of fossils about 60 feet under the Upper Iowa River, part of which had to be temporarily obstructed to allow them to collect the specimens. Then scientists at Yale University determined they were a species from about 460 million years ago, when Iowa was under an ocean.
 
Then, all the action was in the sea and it was pretty small scale, said James Lamsdell of Yale, lead author of the study published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
 
"This is the first real big predator," Lamsdell said. "I wouldn't have wanted to be swimming with it. There's something about bugs. When they're a certain size, they shouldn't be allowed to get bigger."
 
Technically, this creature - named Pentecopterus decorahensis, after an ancient Greek warship - is not a bug by science definitions, Lamsdell said. It's part of the eurypterid family, which are basically sea scorpions.
 
Those types of creatures "are really cool," said Joe Hannibal, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Hannibal wasn't part of the study, but praised it for being well done, adding "this species is not particularly bizarre - for a eurypterid."
 
Unlike modern land scorpions, this creature's tail didn't sting. It was used more for balance and in swimming, but half this creature's length was tail, Lamsdell said.
 
There were larger sea scorpions half way around the world at the same time but those were more bottom feeders instead of dominant predators, he said.
 
Lamsdell could tell by the way the many arms come out of the elongated head how this creature grabbed prey and pushed it to its mouth.
 
"It was obviously a very aggressive animal," Lamsdell said. "It was a big angry bug."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/three-words-monster-sea-bug/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why was the sea bug found in Iowa, which is hundreds of miles from the ocean?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (48)
  • laurenc-bag
    9/15/2015 - 06:41 p.m.

    I think that the sea bug was found in Iowa because at one time Iowa was engulfed in the ocean. That was most definitely because a long time ago, the whole Earth flooded.

  • lilym-1-bag
    9/15/2015 - 10:48 p.m.

    There's always a new wonder found in sea.

  • briannec-ste
    9/17/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    I feel that bugs should stay the size of bugs. not grow the size of a person

  • holdenv-day
    9/18/2015 - 12:08 p.m.

    I think that this article was very interesting.I love learning about new things especially from that time period.I think that the size and how big they were is amazing.It was also cool to learn that they lived underwater. I also thought it was cool how much they resembled scorpions.I thought this article was very fascinating.

  • bourque,nathaniel-1-cas
    9/21/2015 - 02:06 p.m.

    I thinks it cool that they were huge sea Scorpions that were dominate predators.The sea bug was found in lowa because it was once under the ocean but now it isn't living today.

  • tarab-day
    9/22/2015 - 01:43 p.m.

    I think that the giant aquatic scorpion was found in Iowa because it used to be underwater. Now that it is just a shale deposit, it's easier to search it and find fossils or artifacts. This is interesting because the Eurypterid is the average height of a human. I would not have wanted to go into the ocean knowing this was there!

  • olsen,maryellen-cas
    9/23/2015 - 07:42 a.m.

    1. Even though this fossil was found in the waters of the Upper Iowa River, when this sea bug was living 460 billion years ago, the state of Iowa was still part of the ocean before land masses had begun to form.

    2. In my personal opinion, I have to say that finding this particular prehistoric animal is a pretty interesting discovery for geologists to make and for future geologists like me to hear about.

  • abbyf-lam
    9/23/2015 - 09:51 a.m.

    Do you think the scorpions had poison in their tails, like common day scorpions?

  • sammym-pla
    9/23/2015 - 09:37 p.m.

    A five to seven-foot sea scorpion was found in Iowa from 460 million years ago, back when Iowa was still under an ocean. According to a study, the prehistoric "monster" had a spike tail and 12 arms sprouting from its head which were used to grab prey.

    I chose this article because prehistoric creatures such as this one really fascinate me.

  • ethanw-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:15 p.m.

    The sea bug was found in Iowa because students at Yale university determined they were a species from about 460 million years ago, when Iowa was under an ocean.

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