TECH
02/09/2015 09:22 BST | Updated 02/09/2015 09:59 BST

Scientists Discover 'Monster-Like Sea Scorpion Predator' That Roamed The Seas 460 Million Years Ago

The fossil of an ancient giant sea scorpion, dating back 460 million years has been discovered in Iowa, US.

The four-foot long creature is related to modern-day arachnids, the same group to which spiders belong. Yes, we are also relieved we will never have to meet this eight-legged monster.

pentecopterus

In a statement, lead author, James Lamsdell from Yale University said: "The new species is incredibly bizarre.

"The shape of the paddle - the leg which it would use to swim - is unique, as is the shape of the head. It's also big - over a meter and a half long!"

Scientists have named the new species Pentecopterus decorahensis

Studying 150 fossilised fragments, the researchers were able to suggest how the sea scorpion used its limbs.

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According to a paper published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, the rear limbs acted as paddles that allowed it to swim or dig.

Describing the condition in which the fossil fragments were found Lamsdell added:

"Perhaps most surprising is the fantastic way it is preserved - the exoskeleton is compressed on the rock but can be peeled off and studied under a microscope.

"This shows an amazing amount of detail, such as the patterns of small hairs on the legs.

"At times it seems like you are studying the shed skin of a modern animal - an incredibly exciting opportunity for any paleontologist."