A species of predatory insects more than 500 million years old was discovered in Greenland

Reconstruction of the pelagic ecosystem and fossil fauna in Sirius Passet, revealing how the worm was one of the largest predators 518 million years ago (Work by Bob Nicholls – University of Bristol)

Ediacaran-Cambrian transition (about 540 million years ago) was marked by exceptionally large expanse in animal diversity and disparity, which coincides with the discovery of new areas Excavation Strategies Deeper and more diverse and colonization of water layers. diversification of animals across Ediacaran-Cambrian transition is increasingly being recognized as two or three phase change In Variety: First “worm worldLate Ediacara, followed by later expansion early cambrian (Terrenuvian) which eventually expanded significantly in diversity Cambrian era,

In line with this knowledge, a work was published Science Advances Magazine In which it is told that fossils of a new group of animals have been found. hunter in sirius passett city From the Early Cambrian, north of greenland, These big insects can be something first carnivorous animal which colonized the water column more than 518 million years ago, revealing last dynasty of hunters Whose existence was not known to scientists.

New fossils have been named timorbeast, which means “terrorist animal” in Latin. provided with feathers on the sides of his body, a specific head with long, huge antennae jaw structures inside his mouth and he grew more than 30 cm long, these were some largest swimming animals of early cambrian,

Timorbestia copri fossil, the largest known specimen, about 30 cm or 12 inches long (Photo: Dr. Jacob Winther)

It was already known that primitive arthropods were the dominant predators during the Cambrian, such as the strange-looking anomalocarids. However, Timorbeast is a distant relative, but at the same time, close to living arrow worms or chaetognatha. Today, these are much smaller marine predators to feed Of a tiny little zooplankton, Research shows that these ancient ocean ecosystems were quite complex, with a food chain that allowed for different levels of predators.

timorbeast Were giants of their time and it would be close to top of the food chain, This makes them equal in importance to some of main carnivorous of modern oceans, such as sharks and seals, but cambrian period, inside fossil digestive system In Timorbestia, researchers found the remains of a common swimming arthropod called Isoxiswhich was one food source For many other animals. they are very common sirius passett And they had long protective spines that pointed both forward and backward. However, they apparently failed to escape that fate, as he chewed them up in large quantities.

arrow worms are one of oldest animal fossils Of Cambrian. When arthropods They appear in the fossil record from 521 to 529 million years ago, with the first reported date back to at least 538 million years ago.

Dr. Jakob Vinther shows the largest specimen of Timorbestia after its discovery in the town of Sirius Passet in 2017 (EFE/Jacob Vinther)

Both arrow worms like the most primitive timorbeast Were swimming hunters, Therefore, researchers have indicated that it is possible to assume that, in all probability, they were hunters who dominate The ocean before arthropods took flight. maybe they had Dynasty about 10 to 15 million years old before they were replaced by other groups.

He timorbeast It’s a really important discovery to understand where these come from. jawed hunter, Nowadays, arrow worms They have dangerous hairs on the outside of their heads to catch their prey, while timorbeast There are jaws inside its head. This is what is being seen these days microscopic jawed insects: Organisms with which arrowheads shared an ancestor more than 500 million years ago. This and similar fossils provide connections between closely related organisms that look very different today. This finding confirms how arrow worms evolved,

during a series of Mission to the extremely distant Sirius Passetin the most remote areas of the North greenlandOver 82.5˚ north, scientists have collected a huge variety of new organisms in this research. thanks to Remarkable and extraordinary conservation Provided by that site, they may also reveal interesting physical details, including their Digestive system, muscular anatomy and nervous system,

*Jacob Winther is an author of the study and a researcher in the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Biological Sciences at Bristow University.

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