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)
  • mattv-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    Half a billion years ago, Iowa was not where it is today. In fact, Iowa was probably hundreds of thousands of miles away. So the fossil just fossilized in the Ocean, in the place of where Iowa is today.

  • elizabetht-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:19 p.m.

    The sea bug was found in Iowa rather than somewhere nearer to the ocean because at the time the sea bug was alive, Iowa was under the ocean.

  • kolbyd-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    They probably rand down stream from a river that connects to the ocean somehow.

  • coled-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    CTQ: The sea bug was found in Iowa instead of the ocean because back then, water had taken over most of the Earth, it wasn't until later when an eruption of some kind of matter had separated the once huge landmass.

    (That's also why most of the continents are all like one big puzzle piece.)

  • kyleighp-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    The Sea Scorpion was found in Iowa because millions of years ago, it was oceanic territory.

  • garretta-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    The sea bug was found in Iowa because many, many years ago Iowa was an ocean.

  • calaabj-fel
    9/25/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    The sea bug was found in Iowa because it used to be under water.

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

    The sea bug was found in Iowa because 460 million years ago, not only Iowa but most land was under water.

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

    The sea bug was found in Iowa,which is hundreds of miles from the ocean is because when the bug was still alive it lived in the ocean the used to cover Massachusetts.

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

    The sea bug was found in Iowa because when the sea bug was alive, which was many years ago, Iowa was still under an ocean.

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