The remains of a 400 million year old giant extinct bristle worm have been discovered in Canadian museum. This unique new species has the largest jaws ever recorded in this type of creature with over one centimeter in length, easily visible to the naked eye. This has also a body length of more than a meter.
The specimens were specifically first collected for only a few hours in a single day in June 1994! Derek K Armstrong of Ontario Geological Survey found this when he was dropped by a helicopter to investigate the rocks and fossils at a remote and impermanent exposure in Ontario. They have then been sitting for quite some time then in the Royal Ontario Museum until it took the attention of the lead author of the research, Mats Eriksson from Lund University.
"Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance. It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species. The new species demonstrates a unique case of polychaete gigantism in the Palaeozoic, some 400 million years ago,” he said.
Now, the species has been named Websteroprion armstrongi in commemoration of
Armstrong for collecting such amazing material, and bass player Alex Webster of Death Metal band Cannibal Corpse for being a ‘giant’ when it comes to handling his instrument.
"This is an excellent example of the importance of looking in remote and unexplored areas for finding new exciting things, but also the importance of scrutinizing museum collections for overlooked gems," David Rudkin from the museum said.
So, next time you roam around any institution and notice an oddly structured material, try to ask a little bit more than the usual. Who knows? What you might be seeing is the next clue on the evolution of human beings. Stay curious!