HUGE sea scorpions that are much larger than people who once roamed and hunted in ancient oceans.
The creepy creatures have been documented in a new study trying to supplement the patchy scientific records of Australian sea scorpions.
The great creatures date from what is known as the Paleozoic Era.
This was about 541 million and 252 million years ago, before dinosaurs took over the planet.
It was a time when arthropods such as insects, crustaceans and scorpions could reach extreme sizes.
Paleozoic arthropods were some of the largest animals on earth at the time and would have been found in many oceans around the world.
We know that due to fossilized remains, the sea scorpions looked like the scorpions we have today.
However, they are more cousins of the modern scorpions we know.
They are some of the largest marine predators ever seen in the fossil record.
This included the species Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, which was up to eight feet long.
Experts compare them to modern white sharks in terms of how high they would have been in the food chain.
Petrified remains indicate that they might have caught prey in their huge claws and dented them in with the tooth-like structures on their legs.
They were also considered quick swimmers.
Scientists believe they would have eaten fish and smaller arthropods, but not ruled out that the giant scorpions would have eaten themselves on a human if one had been around at the time.
Australia’s ancient sea scorpions were first documented in 1899, but we still don’t know much about them.
The new study included fossils of sea scorpions that had not previously been mentioned.
It provides clues to six different groups of creatures that could have existed in Australia.
Future research hopes to find more complete specimens and better document the old species.
This study was published in Gondwana Research.
A timeline of life on earth
The history of the planet in years …
- 4.6 billion years ago – the origin of the earth
- The first life on earth appeared 3.8 billion years ago
- Life forms consisting of several cells developed 2.1 billion years ago
- Eukaryotes emerged 1.5 billion years ago, which are cells that contain a nucleus in their membranes
- 550 million years ago – the first arthropods develop
- The first fish appeared 530 million years ago
- The first land plants appeared 470 million years ago
- 380 million years ago, forests developed on earth
- The first amphibians emerged from the water on land 370 million years ago
- The earliest reptiles developed 320 million years ago
- 230 million years ago – dinosaurs are developing
- Mammals appeared 200 million years ago
- The earliest birds developed 150 million years ago
- 130 million years ago – the first flowering plants
- 100 million years ago – earliest bees
- Rabbits and rabbits appeared 55 million years ago
- The first cats developed 30 million years ago
- Apes developed 20 million years ago
- The first human ancestors appeared 7 million years ago
- 2 million years ago – Homo erectus appears
- 300,000 years ago – Homo sapiens continues to develop
- Eurasia and Oceania colonized 50,000 years ago
- 40,000 years ago – Neandethal extinction
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