Scientists revealed a massive ancient worm which has huge jaws. Back in 1994, Derek Armstrong, a Canadian scientist, flew to a remote area in northern Ontario and collected some fossils. The specimens which were collected have been stored at the Royal Ontario Museum for over twenty years. Those fossils helped researchers reveal a new species of marine worm.
- Scientists revealed a new species of ancient worm after analyzing some fossils from the Royal Ontario Museum.
- The worm had impressive jaws, bigger than what scientists expected.
- They named it Websterprion armstrongi and it was known to have lived 400 million years ago.
David Rudlin, an assistant curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, claimed that this discovery shows the significance of looking into remote and unexplored places. Researchers from Sweden’s Lund University, the University of Bristol and the Royal Ontario Museum have worked together to reveal what lies hidden in the 400-million-year-old rocks which were uncovered.
They revealed some jaws about the class known as Polychaeta, which represents the marine relative of worms as we know them today. Generally, Polychaeta worms have small jaws, measuring between 0.1 and 2 millimeters. According to this differences registered when it comes to the size of the jaw and its features, researchers noted that this could be a new species. They named it Websterprion armstrongi.
The worm appears to have been more than three feet in length. Their findings were published in Nature magazine. The discovery proved that the gigantism of Polychaeta was a spectacular phenomen four hundred million years ago, during Palaeozoic period. Scientists also pointed out that this ancient worm might have been related to the family of Eunicidae. These can develop to grow from 10 to 20 feet in length.
Nevertheless, they measure only one inch in width. If the newly revealed species of worm was similar to its modern relatives, then it would have been a massive monster for its contemporaries about 385 or 397 million years ago. The modern Eunice aphroditois looks like a monster from the science fiction movies. It hides under sand, on the seafloor. When it spots the prey, the creature burst up and grabs the fish in its five spring-loaded jaws.
Back in 1996, researchers have seen this animal attacking a filefish which was a foot long. The Eunice aphroditois spotted the filefish, and when it got closer to the worm, the creature caught it with lighting speed. The ancient ancestors of this creature might have shared the hunting strategy and the impressive size of modern worms.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia