A paleontological study published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, a journal of natural science research, describes a new species of prehistoric scorpion from the early Shiju era (about 437.5 million to 436.5 million years ago). The study suggests that the species, called “P. venator”, is the earliest known scorpion, and that they may be able to leave their marine habitat and climb onland, similar to today’s dragonflies, also known as horseshoe crabs.
The oldest scorpion to date or from the ocean to land.
Scorpions were one of the first animals to move from the ocean to land, but it is still unclear how and when scorpions adapt to life on land due to limited fossil records.
This time, Andrew Windruff, a scientist at Theuteburn University in the United States, and his colleagues described a specimen of a previously unknown scorpion species, two well-preserved, found in the Waukeshaw biome in Wisconsin, U.S., dating back to the early Shiju, meaning they are older than previously thought to be the oldest scorpion species.
The new species, named “P. venator”, shows some of the original features of other early marine organisms, such as the complex eye, and some of the characteristics of modern scorpions, such as tail stungs. Both “P. venator” specimens detail their internal body structures, including narrow hourglass structures that extend along most of the middle of the body. The team believes that these structures are very similar to the circulatory and respiratory systems in today’s scorpions and scorpions.
The researchers say the “P. venator” scorpion fossils have not found lungs or gills, but their similarity to the moths, which can be breathed on land, means that while the oldest scorpions may not be entirely terrestrial, they may have been on land for longer.