Sunday, January 27, 2013

Arthropleura was an ancestor to centipedes and millipedes. It could reach more than eight feet (2.4 m) in length, and the fatter creatures could be several feet wide—think, for a moment, of something like that brushing up against your leg. It was so massive that despite being an invertebrate it probably had very few predators, and it is by far the largest invertebrate species ever unearthed.

Arthropleura lived from the Carboniferous to the early Permian period—throughout what is now North America and Scotland—around 300 million years ago. Strangely, even though its monstrous form would have allowed it to prey on most anything, Arthropleura was entirely herbivorous (as shown by the fossilized remnants of its stomach). It wouldn’t have taken any magic to resize this bug for James’ giant peach.


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