Mixopterus kiaeri, giant eurypterid

Mixopterus kiaeri, giant eurypterid (Replica)

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From about 417 to 354 million years ago this massive trilobite predator lived in the brackish waters of the ancient seas of what we now call Norway. To date we know there have been at least 10,000 species of trilobites identified but as we know none of them were predators . Many a trilobite species fell prey to this Giant.

Mixopterus, was a strange somewhat scorpion-like animal. Very few specimens of this animal have been obtained, but this species is well known from the rocks of Norway. This animal may have been capable of crawling out of the water and onto the Silurian landscape as evident by the 2 sets of legs near the head.

The Eurypterids were among the largest and most fearsome marine predators of the Paleozoic age. They could range in size from 10 centimeters ( 5 inches) up to 6 feet long making them the largest Arthropods to have lived on our planet. This species of arthropod made it's appearance during the Ordovician era some 425 million years ago and became extinct during the Permian period millions of years before the rise of the Dinosaur.

It is thought that some species of Eurypterids may have spent short intervals of time on land.

The fossils of these animals have been found on all the Continents and have amazingly good preservation that the external structure of the body is the best known of all extinct animals. Because of the long tail and spine like appendage at the tip of the tail the Eurypterids have been called " sea scorpions ." In fact, they are closely related to land scorpions and other arachnids.

Mixopterus is the most scorpion-like of the Eurypterids, and possibly the ancestor to all scorpions. This species was a diverse group of spiny Eurypterids and show in the fossil rocks of Norway that they may have been amphibious.

The original fossil from which this cast was made is valued between $30,000 to $40,000 dollars, and resides in the Paleontology Museum in Oslo, Norway.

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