Paleontology

What Left These Odd Fossilized Tracks?

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At lengths upwards of 6 feet (1.8 m), Arthropleura was the largest land-dwelling arthropod of all time. Its many legs sprouted from around 30 jointed segments covered in armored plating, segments of which have been discovered by paleontologists. Due to its size, Arthropleura probably had few, if any, enemies. Scientists believe that it ate dead plant matter just like its living millipede descendents. These gigantic bugs became extinct when the climate shifted, drying out the sprawling swamps in which they lived.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Carboniferous Period lasted from around 360 to 300 million years ago. 00:04

  2. Fossilized tracks of Arthropleura have been found in North America and Scotland. 00:54

  3. Arthropleura is believed to be the largest terrestrial arthropod that has ever existed. 02:01

Written by Curiosity Staff February 22, 2016