Scientists Have Just Put a Name to This 480-Million-Year-Old Man-Sized Bug Fossil

by Owen James Burke

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Aegirocassis benmoulae may be the largest arthropod that ever lived. Photo: Marianne Collins/ArtofFact

Ou Said Ben Moula, A Moroccan collector turned over the fossilized remains of the strange beast to scientists years ago, but it’s only recently that they’ve been able to discover its class and function. Anomalocaridid was an arthropod (insects, spiders, crustaceans) and is being described as something between a 7-foot centipede and a gargantuan, clawless lobster.

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The animal, like whales, had a baleen-like scooper, pictured above. Peter Van Roy/Yale University

“It is one of the very biggest arthropods that ever existed,” says Yale paleontologist Peter Van Roy, who spent 500 hours preparing the fossilized remains.

Rest easy, worrywarts. These guys are long dead, and they were docile filter feeders that scooped up plankton in swarms, not unlike whales.

Read more, and listen to the story, on NPR — OJB

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