Creepy alien-like creature is oldest ancestor of spiders and scorpions ever found and lived 505 million… – The Sun

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A PH.D. student has identified a fossil that dates back hundreds of millions of years and is the ancestor to our present-day creepy crawlers.

The ancestor of modern-day scorpions, spiders, and horseshoe crabs has been a long-time mystery among scientists.

New fossils answer the long-time mystery regarding the ancestor of scorpions, spiders, and horseshoe crabsCredit: Lustri, L., Gueriau, P. & Daley, A.C. / Illustration by Elissa Sorojsrisom
The fossil was found in the early 2000's and is from 505 million years ago
The fossil was found in the early 2000’s and is from 505 million years agoCredit: ©UNIL

The creatures are all arthropods which means they have an exoskeleton, bi-lateral symmetry, jointed appendages, segmented bodies, and specialized appendages.

More specifically, this group of arthropods belongs to the subphylum category meaning they have pincers used for biting, grabbing, or injecting venom, also known as chelicerae.

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Scientists have been unable to identify the ancestor of these creatures as fossils from 400 to 500 million years ago were a rare find.

Questions began to be answered when Lorenzo Lustri, a PhD student at the time at the University of Lausanne’s Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, discovered fossils that dated back 478 million years, according to EurekAlert!.

They were from the Fezouata Shale of Morocco and were found in the early 2000s.

One of the fossils found has been named Setapedites Abundantis and measures between 5 and 10 millimeters.

The find was able to fill the massive gap between the modern creatures and the Cambrian period which was 505 million years ago.

Scientists have studied the multitude of fossils for years but were unaware they had the key to an ongoing mystery at their fingertips.

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“Initially, we only intended to describe and name this fossil. We had absolutely no idea that it would hold so many secrets,” Lorenzo Lustri said about his findings, according to the outlet.

“It was therefore an exhilarating surprise to realize, after careful observations and analysis, that it also filled an important gap in the evolutionary tree of life.”

Giant 16-foot dinosaur belonging to brainy predator species that was ‘far bigger than Jurassic Park raptors’ discovered

Scientists are still observing the fossils and believe that some of their anatomical features may allow a better understanding of the early evolution of the chelicerate, pincher, group.

DISCOVERY PROCESS

Upon finding the fossils, researchers were able to study them by using an X-ray scanner to reconstruct their anatomy in detail and in 3D.

By doing so they could compare the fossil to modern-day creatures and other ancient relatives.

Through phylogenetic analysis, which mathematically reconstructs the family tree, scientists saw that the “coding” of their anatomical traits may have solved the mystery.

A timeline of life on Earth

The history of the planet in years…

  • 4.6billion years ago – the origin of Earth
  • 3.8billion years ago – first life appears on Earth
  • 2.1billion years ago – lifeforms made up of multiple cells evolve
  • 1.5billion years ago – eukaryotes, which are cells that contain a nucleus inside of their membranes, emerge
  • 550million years ago – first arthropods evolve
  • 530million years ago – first fish appear
  • 470million years ago – first land plants appear
  • 380million years ago – forests emerge on Earth
  • 370million years ago – first amphibians emerge from the water onto land
  • 320million years ago – earliest reptiles evolve
  • 230million years ago – dinosaurs evolve
  • 200million years ago – mammals appear
  • 150million years ago – earliest birds evolve
  • 130million years ago – first flowering plants
  • 100million years ago – earliest bees
  • 55million years ago – hares and rabbits appear
  • 30million years ago – first cats evolve
  • 20million years ago – great apes evolve
  • 7million years ago –first human ancestors appear
  • 2million years ago – Homo erectus appears
  • 300,000 years ago – Homo sapiens evolves
  • 50,000 years ago – Eurasia and Oceania colonised
  • 40,000 years ago – Neandethal extinction

GIANT RAPTOR

The fossil discovery has not been the only new recent scientific find.

In 2020, tracks of a giant raptor, which would have lived tens of millions of years ago, were found in China’s Fujian Province.

“When people think of raptor dinosaurs, they most likely think of those in the Jurassic Park movies—human-sized, muscly, aggressive hunters,” said Dr Anthony Romilio, a paleontologist at The University of Queensland’s Dinosaur Lab.

“But these tracks were left by a much slimmer and brainier group in the Velociraptor family known as Troodontids, which emerged in the late Jurassic period around 95 million years ago.

“This raptor was about five meters long with 1.8 meter-long legs, far exceeding the size of the raptors depicted in Jurassic Park.

“Imagine something like that coming at you at full speed!”

The tracks were two-toed and described as “distinct in shape” and “unique.”

They provided a clue about the creature called Fujianipus yingliangi.

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Also known as troodontids, they were described as bird-like dinosaurs that were predatory carnivores.

The dinosaurs had long legs, big brains, and big eyes with binocular vision.

This new creature also has pincers used for biting, grabbing, or injecting venom, also known as chelicerae
This new creature also has pincers used for biting, grabbing, or injecting venom, also known as cheliceraeCredit: Getty
Scientists are still reviewing the fossils to find further connections between ancestors and modern day creatures
Scientists are still reviewing the fossils to find further connections between ancestors and modern day creaturesCredit: Getty

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