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Super-sized ancient creepy crawlies

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The giant fossilised claw of a 2.5m-long (8ft) cannibalistic sea scorpion has been discovered by a European researcher.

The creature, known as Jaekelopterus rhenaniae and nicknamed Jake, is thought to have scuttled around planet Earth some 390 million years ago.

According to the Beeb, which cites the journal Biology Letters, the claw specimen is about half a metre long (46cm) and was found in a German quarry.

It's a significant find because the size of the aquatic or semi-acquatic beast seems to suggest that ancient creepy crawlies were much bigger than previously thought.

Jake has smashed the record books, exceeding any other sea scorpion find by nearly 50cm.

Markus Poschmann was working in the quarry near Prüm in south-west Germany when he discovered the so-called Eurypterids' (sea scorpion) claw after loosening pieces of rock with a hammer and chisel.

Having successfully removed it from the quarry, he cleaned and dried pieces of the claw before gluing them back together.

Dr Simon Braddy from the University of Bristol co-authored the Biology Letters journal entry.

He said: "This is an amazing discovery. We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies, but we never realised, until now, just how big some of these ancient creepy crawlies were." ®

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