It’s Not Possible That Scorpions Were The First Land Animals

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A contention that scorpions were the first land animals:

Fossil experts in the US have revealed the remains of what they say is the first animal that may have set foot on land – an ancient scorpion.

The earliest animals were aquatic, but eventually transitioned on to land. While scorpions are known to be one of the first animals to have become fully land-dwelling, experts say the two new fossils add to a growing debate about when animals made the shift.

The scorpion, which is about 2.5cm in length, is thought to have lived about 437m years ago, with the fossils discovered in a quarry north of state highway 164 in Wisconsin in the 1980s.

The earliest arachnid yet discovered, the creature has been named Parioscorpio venator, meaning ancestral scorpion and hunter. The creature, like modern scorpions, had two large claws and a tail with a sting at its end.

The sting. That means it’s a predator. Predators require prey – and something more alive than some algae or grass that can’t be stung to death or immobility so as to be eaten.

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Andrew CareyPhoenix44NDReaderDiscoveredJoys Recent comment authors
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DiscoveredJoys

On the other hand perhaps smaller scorpions colonised the land because they were the prey of larger scorpions?

NDReader
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NDReader

I’m sure there’s a living to be made from the dead bodies washed up on the beach, since there’s no competition for the first few hundred thousand years. And especially if you keep open the option to scuttle back into the hurly-burly of the intertidal zone when pickings are thin.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

Presumably just a very bad bit of journalism? I assume the actual scientists said this was the “earliest” fossil of a land animal they have found, not a fossil of the earliest land animal.

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

Correct on this being very bad journalism. The source paper says “Scorpions are among the first animals to have become fully terrestrialised. Their early fossil record is limited, and fundamental questions, including how and when they adapted to life on land, have been difficult to answer. Here we describe a new exceptionally preserved fossil scorpion from the Waukesha Biota (early Silurian, ca. 437.5–436.5 Ma) of Wisconsin, USA. This is the earliest scorpion yet reported, and it shows a combination of primitive marine chelicerate and derived arachnid characteristics . .Whereas there is no unambiguous evidence that this early scorpion was terrestrial, this… Read more »