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Spectacular specimen: This bug's a big one - 8 feet long - and New Mexico scientists nabbed...
Albuquerque Tribune ^ | April 14, 2005 | Sue Vorenberg

Posted on 04/22/2005 12:50:39 PM PDT by demlosers

Spectacular specimen: This bug's a big one - 8 feet long - and New Mexico scientists nabbed some of its fossils

Think mosquitoes and millipedes are nasty?

Then don't look too deeply into New Mexico's past.

Today, you can squish the tiny bugs, but 300 million years ago, 8-foot-long millipedes were in control of the landscape, and humans weren't even a gleam in evolution's eye.

New Mexico is now a world record holder of such "exquisitely grotesque creatures," as one worker at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science calls them. Evidence of the largest arthropleura - its technical name - ever found was recovered by the museum on Friday.

"In today's world, you couldn't have a bug this big," said Spencer Lucas, paleontology curator at the museum. "This is basically the Tyrannosaurus of the Pennsylvanian period, millions of years before dinosaurs evolved. If you took a time machine back, you'd definitely want to check your sleeping bag for these suckers before getting in."

The Pennsylvanian time period lasted from 325 to 280 million years ago.

The museum has not found the bug itself. What it did find in a remote canyon near Española were the fossilized tracks of such a creature - which looks like a 3-by-8 speed bump with flat wings holding hundreds of nasty, ribbed, horseshoe-shaped feet.

"This is a very spectacular thing," said Adrian Hunt, director of the museum, who went out in the field with the team to recover it. "Think of it as a much bigger cross between a millipede and a centipede. It probably lived in swampy forest debris. Something like this has never been found before in the Western United States."

Evidence of the creatures has also been found in Nova Scotia and Scotland, but Jorg Schneider, an international expert on them and a paleontologist from the Freiberg Mining Academy in Germany, said New Mexico's find is evidence of the biggest arthropleura ever.

The second-largest creature was probably a few inches smaller than the one found in New Mexico. The New Mexico track is 39.3 centimeters wide, compared with the second-largest track, in Scotland, which is 36 centimeters wide, Schneider said.

Schnieder came to New Mexico for a two-week visit to look at the track and other New Mexico rocks from the same time period, he said.

"One question we have is, could such a large beast live on plant material only?" Schneider said. "In millipedes from the modern era, we know that scolopender (a type of millipede) is a predator. Possibly these big extinct versions also ate other animals. This was the top of the food chain - with no natural enemy - for about 40 to 50 million years during the Pennsylvanian."

The creatures might have been vegetarians, but their large size suggests they might have eaten early reptiles that later evolved into dinosaurs and mammals, Schneider said.

One favorite snack could have been the pelycosaur, a relative of the dimetrodon, a small, sail-backed lizard common in that age, Lucas said.

"We're still really not sure what they ate," Lucas said. "This guy was probably out patrolling the forest floor eating smaller bugs - which were still pretty big by today's standards - and maybe eating small vertebrates. New Mexico was near the equator then, and the land was much warmer and wetter."

Arthropleura died out at the end of the Pennsylvanian, probably because the amount of oxygen in the air was reduced from 30 percent during that time period to closer to the 21 percent we have today, Lucas said.

"They just couldn't survive at that size in modern air," Lucas said. "Their lungs weren't as evolved as ours. For an insect to get that big, you'd need to have a lot more oxygen in the air. These guys were an evolutionary dead end."

Millipedes and centipedes aren't directly related to arthropleura, he added, but might be from a related branch of the now-extinct creature's family tree, Lucas added.

"Breathing, food, locomotion are all problematic for a bug that big," Lucas said. "When the world changed, they just couldn't adapt."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: archaeology; bugs; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; museum; paleontology
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To: demlosers

Deep fry in kettle, sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve over rice, LMAO!!!!!


51 posted on 04/22/2005 1:25:16 PM PDT by rockabyebaby (If you're not part of the solution, YOU ARE the problem.)
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To: PatrickHenry
I'd rather take my chances with an 8-foot crocodile. It's only a reptile, after all.
52 posted on 04/22/2005 1:25:19 PM PDT by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro

Someone dated Hillary Rodham ...


53 posted on 04/22/2005 1:25:52 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Pope Benedict XVI: The Rat-Zinger!)
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To: demlosers

Them's good eating!


54 posted on 04/22/2005 1:25:57 PM PDT by Nonstatist
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To: martin_fierro
This is basically the Tyrannosaurus of the Pennsylvanian period.

This is the basic arthropleura of the Massachusetts era.


55 posted on 04/22/2005 1:26:58 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: demlosers
"...but 300 million years ago...New Mexico was near the equator then, and the land was much warmer and wetter...."

My complaining to myself about traffic this a.m. is so insignifiant whenb I read statements like these. I've come to this conclusion though: On the whole as a species, "we deserve to be in traffic".<---LOL on a Pessimistic Friday

56 posted on 04/22/2005 1:30:59 PM PDT by Pagey (Hillary talking about Religion is as hypocritical as Bill carrying a bible out of church for 8 years)
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To: Junior

How do you know? Were you there?


57 posted on 04/22/2005 1:32:32 PM PDT by 14erClimb
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To: shaggy eel; MineralMan

Hey shaggy...they copied your driver's license photo.

Though Muttly ambles through the ferns often,

only your photogenic contributions remind me of how much more cautious i should be.


58 posted on 04/22/2005 1:35:42 PM PDT by PoorMuttly (muttly - verb:"to cudgel or beat with a short heavy stick")
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To: 14erClimb

I've seen the fossils.


59 posted on 04/22/2005 1:39:44 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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To: demlosers

Rodan snacks!


60 posted on 04/22/2005 1:40:15 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Creationism is not conservative!)
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To: demlosers

61 posted on 04/22/2005 1:43:41 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan (Count Petofi will not be denied!)
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To: demlosers
8-foot-long millipedes were in control of the landscape

The creeping terror?

62 posted on 04/22/2005 1:49:03 PM PDT by Luna (Lobbing the Holy Hand Grenade at Liberalism)
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To: Junior

Nothing more than glorified tiddly-winks.


63 posted on 04/22/2005 1:49:27 PM PDT by 14erClimb
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To: 14erClimb; Junior

Sorry, I meant erector set.


64 posted on 04/22/2005 1:50:50 PM PDT by 14erClimb
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To: 14erClimb
Arthropleura is known from both trace and body fossils from the Lower Carboniferous (Sterzel 1918; Pearson 1992; Rossler and Schneider 1997) through the Lower Permian (Ryan 1986; Schneider and Barthel 1997) of Europe and North America.
65 posted on 04/22/2005 1:55:06 PM PDT by Liberal Classic (No better friend, no worse enemy. Semper Fi.)
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To: Luna

66 posted on 04/22/2005 1:56:25 PM PDT by TheBigB (Proudly annoying stupid people since 1970!)
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To: 14erClimb

Huh? You think the fossils were faked?


67 posted on 04/22/2005 1:57:24 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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To: MineralMan

Photo by W. Kraus of Aachen. By the way, I'm just aachen to get out of the office and go home and drink beer.


68 posted on 04/22/2005 2:02:38 PM PDT by Argh
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To: demlosers

They only found the "fossilized" tracks of the buggie...
How do they know what it looked like???
How do tracks get fossilized? Wouldn't that mean that
the tracks had to be covered rapidly, or else they would
have worn away in surely a few rainfalls....

Why is that if an organism "evolves" it is due to the
environment, but if it "dies-off" it is due to the
environment? What makes an organism die in one
environmental change, but "evolve" in the other???
Or is it a case of, "because it's there" explanation, that
has no predictive value?


69 posted on 04/22/2005 2:02:46 PM PDT by Getready ((...Fear not ...))
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To: Dr. Thorne
Looks like something from a Roger Corman movie.

Actually, it looks more like something from Naked Lunch. Like the thing that Dr. Benway got the black powder from.

70 posted on 04/22/2005 2:03:29 PM PDT by Vroomfondel
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To: gdani

"And how exactly did Noah get that thing on the Ark?"

He DIDN'T.
(His wife wouldn't let him.)
And that's why there aren't any anymore.

I'd imagine the nastier critters like the mosquitoes, flies and nasty spiders, and rats, were not INVITED onto the ark.


71 posted on 04/22/2005 2:08:27 PM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: demlosers

Probably tastes just like chicken. OK, a lot of chicken.


72 posted on 04/22/2005 2:09:35 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: TheBigB

LOL! Thanks! Very nice. That puts me in the mood to watch that episode of MST3K tonight.


73 posted on 04/22/2005 2:11:16 PM PDT by Luna (Lobbing the Holy Hand Grenade at Liberalism)
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To: Vicomte13

They invited THEMSELVES onto the ark ;)


74 posted on 04/22/2005 2:14:04 PM PDT by coydog (My bathroom djinn can beat up your bathroom djinn!)
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To: coydog

"They invited THEMSELVES onto the ark ;)"

Mosquitos, black flies and spiders...just think of them as Satan's Little Helpers.

Rats, on the other hand, can be good looking.
If you're a condor.


75 posted on 04/22/2005 2:18:30 PM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: tet68
Anyway, my question is WHY did the atmosphere change at that time??

SUV's?

76 posted on 04/22/2005 2:20:58 PM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (The quiet ones are the ones that change the universe. The loud ones only take the credit)
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To: schaketo
Does that mean this was the first known democrat?

You just hurt its feelings.


77 posted on 04/22/2005 2:24:30 PM PDT by Nataku X (Food for Thought: http://web2.airmail.net/scsr/)
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To: demlosers

Given that the Bible tells us that man's lifespan was a lot longer (~900 years) prior to the Flood - is it possible that these enormous critters (e.g., cockroaches, milipedes, etc) just grew because they lived a lot longer than they do today (bugs/reptiles, unlike mammals, just keep on growing the older they get)?


78 posted on 04/22/2005 2:28:09 PM PDT by El Cid
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To: mainepatsfan
Looks like the creature from Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn.

Something like this little guy?


79 posted on 04/22/2005 2:28:12 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (The way that you wander is the way that you choose. The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.)
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To: demlosers

"If you see anything that looks like a bug hole....nuke it. Let's move out!"


80 posted on 04/22/2005 2:30:18 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (The way that you wander is the way that you choose. The day that you tarry is the day that you lose.)
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To: mewzilla

You don't use Die-Bug-Die. You call in airstrikes and carpet patterns with napalm.

Another alternative would be to send U.N. peacekeepers, looking all cute and girly in their powder-blue helmets,
out with flamethrowers. We'll know they find these monsters when we hear the blue-helmeted ones' eeeks and shrieks.

And wouldn't it be another embarrassment if French peacekeepers surrendered to one of these things?


81 posted on 04/22/2005 2:35:14 PM PDT by righttackle44 (The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle and the American people behind him)
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To: demlosers
Arthropleura died out at the end of the Pennsylvanian, probably because the amount of oxygen in the air was reduced from 30 percent during that time period to closer to the 21 percent we have today, Lucas said.

needs to be said.......it's Bush's fault.

:-)

82 posted on 04/22/2005 3:01:52 PM PDT by wbill
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To: demlosers

Thank the good Lord it is extinct.

If they had found a LIVE one, the envirowhackos would be screaming to "reintroduce" it, and claiming protection for it as an "endangered" species.


83 posted on 04/22/2005 3:06:04 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The world needs more horses, and fewer Jackasses!)
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To: Tax-chick
It's a hugh, disgusting bug, however you date it!

I would never date one, nor allow my sister too, either, even if a moose did bite her once.

84 posted on 04/22/2005 3:07:48 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (The world needs more horses, and fewer Jackasses!)
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To: ApplegateRanch

What a good brother you are!


85 posted on 04/22/2005 3:09:14 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Marriage is for breeders ... just like paragraphs!)
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To: demlosers

We have a 5 foot insect today. It is called Barborus Boxerosus.


86 posted on 04/22/2005 3:11:00 PM PDT by doug from upland (MOCKING DEMOCRATS 24/7 --- www.rightwingparodies.com)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; ValerieUSA; FairOpinion; Swordmaker

I won't be impressed until they find fossil evidence of a kilopede.


87 posted on 04/22/2005 11:02:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Monday, April 11, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; SunkenCiv; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Raaaaaaaaaaaid! A sort-of cryptobiology ping, and a paleontology ping. :')
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
-- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

88 posted on 04/22/2005 11:03:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FR profiled updated Monday, April 11, 2005. Fewer graphics, faster loading.)
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To: MineralMan

"Quibbles! It's a hugh, disgusting bug, however you date it!"

Which Hugh is it?


89 posted on 04/22/2005 11:06:05 PM PDT by righttackle44 (The most dangerous weapon in the world is a Marine with his rifle and the American people behind him)
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To: SunkenCiv

ROFL!


90 posted on 04/22/2005 11:10:22 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: demlosers

It would take a 55 gallon drum of raid to kill a bug that big.

91 posted on 04/22/2005 11:17:23 PM PDT by rdl6989 (If it drives the left into fits, its a good thing.)
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To: Tax-chick
Quibbles! It's a hugh, disgusting bug, however you date it!

DATE IT?! What kind of movie do you take one of those to?

92 posted on 04/22/2005 11:20:59 PM PDT by Swordmaker (tagline now open, please ring bell.)
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To: Darksheare

Hmmmm.... would this have anything to do with YOU?


93 posted on 04/23/2005 12:48:04 AM PDT by Darkchylde (The Crazed Unknown Hermit)
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To: MineralMan

I take it my usual bug spray wouldn't work on that.


94 posted on 04/23/2005 12:57:40 AM PDT by baseballfanjm
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To: BROKKANIC
How do they know it was a bug?

Different kinds of animals make very distinctive tracks from each other. Apparently these tracks closely match the feet of an already known arthropod family, but these particular tracks are just really freakin' big compared to the more common specimens.

95 posted on 04/23/2005 12:58:05 AM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Swordmaker

"Men in Black".


96 posted on 04/23/2005 5:06:14 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Marriage is for breeders ... just like paragraphs!)
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To: demlosers

This brings up an interesting issue. Arthropods don't have lungs (at least, not in the mammalian sense). They breath through their skin. How could a creature this size have taken in enough oxygen to survive? It could only happen, I suspect, if the air pressure was vastly denser than it is now. We must have lost a lot of air somewhere along the path of history.

I have on occasion seen fossils of flying insects that are orders of magnitude larger than their descendants of today. This also suggests that the air was once much more dense.


97 posted on 04/23/2005 5:57:47 AM PDT by Renfield (Philosophy chair at the University of Wallamalloo!!)
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To: Red Badger
Looks like it would taste like a giant LOBSTER..........

More like ammonia if the taste of the modern ones is any guide...

98 posted on 04/23/2005 7:34:53 AM PDT by null and void (You're in Bloody Hands with Allah State...)
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To: gdani
And how exactly did Noah get that thing on the Ark?

He didn't, they're extinct!

DUH!

99 posted on 04/23/2005 7:36:25 AM PDT by null and void (You're in Bloody Hands with Allah State...)
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To: righttackle44
You don't use Die-Bug-Die. You call in airstrikes and carpet patterns with napalm.

LOL! Bug hunt!!!

And wouldn't it be another embarrassment if French peacekeepers surrendered to one of these things?

For us, yes. For the French, non.

100 posted on 04/23/2005 7:40:03 AM PDT by mewzilla
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