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When Giant Scorpions Swarmed the Seas

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 Archeology / Paleontology   |   Biology   |   Environmental   |   Science
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Sea scorpions thrived for 200 million years, coming in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Over time, they developed a number of adaptations--from crushing claws to flattened tails for swimming. And some of them adapted by getting so big that they still hold the record as the largest arthropods of all time.

Thank you to these paleoartists for allowing us to use their wonderful illustrations:
Franz Anthony: https://252mya.com/gallery/franz-anthony
Ceri Thomas: http://alphynix.tumblr.com/
Lucas Lima: https://252mya.com/gallery/lucas-lima
Julio Lacerda: https://252mya.com/gallery/julio-lacerda
Nobu Tamura: https://spinops.blogspot.com/


Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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References:
Braddy, Simon J., Richard J. Aldridge, Sarah E. Gabbott, and Johannes N. Theron. "Lamellate book-gills in a late Ordovician eurypterid from the Soom Shale, South Africa: support for a eurypterid-scorpion clade." Lethaia 32, no. 1 (1999): 72-74.
Braddy, Simon J., Markus Poschmann, and O. Erik Tetlie. "Giant claw reveals the largest ever arthropod." Biology Letters 4, no. 1 (2007): 106-109. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsbl.2007.0491
Brezinski, David K., and Albert D. Kollar. "Reevaluation of the Age and Provenance of the Giant Palmichnium kosinskiorum Eurypterid Trackway, from Elk County, Pennsylvania." Annals of Carnegie Museum 84, no. 1 (2016): 39-45.
Briggs, Derek EG, and WD Ian Rolfe. "A giant arthropod trackway from the Lower Mississippian of Pennsylvania." Journal of Paleontology (1983): 377-390. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1304661.pdf?seq=1
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Lamsdell, James C., Simon J. Braddy, and O. Erik Tetlie. "Redescription of Drepanopterus abonensis (Chelicerata: Eurypterida: Stylonurina) from the Late Devonian of Portishead, UK." Palaeontology 52, no. 5 (2009): 1113-1139.
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McCoy, Victoria E., James C. Lamsdell, Markus Poschmann, Ross P. Anderson, and Derek EG Briggs. "All the better to see you with: eyes and claws reveal the evolution of divergent ecological roles in giant pterygotid eurypterids." Biology letters 11, no. 8 (2015): 20150564.
Poschmann, Markus, Brigitte Schoenemann, and Victoria E. McCoy. "Telltale eyes: the lateral visual systems of Rhenish Lower Devonian eurypterids (Arthropoda, Chelicerata) and their palaeobiological implications." Palaeontology 59, no. 2 (2016): 295-304.
Selden, P. A., and John David Lawson. "Eurypterid respiration." Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 309, no. 1138 (1985): https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rstb.1985.0081
Tetlie, O. Erik. "Distribution and dispersal history of Eurypterida (Chelicerata)." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 252, no. 3-4 (2007): 557-574. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6434/bc6cdbfd7613c5dc725333a5b003975c6c50.pdf
Vrazo, Matthew B., and Simon J. Braddy. "Testing the ‘mass-moult-mate’hypothesis of eurypterid palaeoecology." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 311, no. 1-2 (2011): 63-73.
Whyte, Martin A. "Palaeoecology: a gigantic fossil arthropod trackway." Nature 438, no. 7068 (2005): 576.

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