Very First Land Creature

Fossil Millipede Trail

Dated 425 million years ago during the Silurian Period, the first animal to show evidence of breathing oxygen was a millipede. Its fossil  was discovered by an amateur collector from Scotland in 2004. It exhibited tiny openings, not visible to the eye, taxonomists refer to as spiracles for oxygen intake.

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Comparison to Centipedes

Millipedes are detrivores, feeding on decaying plant material, and most of them live in moist habitats. Unlike their cousin centipedes, most are not predators, they don’t bite or have a poison sting. They are slower moving  because their legs may be numerous, but tiny in proportion to the rest of their bodies. Their bodies are rounded and not flat like that of centipedes. Also, centipedes have one leg per body segment, whereas millipedes have two per segment.

North American Type Millipede (photo from Wikipedia)

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Although their name suggests they have thousands of legs, the truth is, they most commonly have from 36 to 400, which is still a lot of legs! This (Narceus, americanus) millipede is a rather large species which grows up to four inches in length. I think its kind of cute. Anyway, the largest millipede today is the Giant African Millipede reaching up to 12 inches in length, but the largest ever discovered in the entire history of millipedes dwarfs the African Millipede. It lived during the Carboniferous Age and scientists estimate it grew two meters long and a meter wide. It’s no wonder, there was more than enough for it to eat during this age of lush tropical forests.

I HAVE WRITTEN A CHARMING STORY ABOUT  “THE BRAVEST LITTLE MILLIPEDE” WHO DARED TO BE THE FIRST OF HIS TRIBE TO VENTURE ONTO DRY LAND. CLICK THE LINK BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHECK IT OUT!

http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Bravest-Little-Millipede

 

CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom:  Animal

Phylum:    Arthopod (having segmented body, exoskeleton, jointed legs)

Class:        Myriapoda (means 10,000 legs)

Subclass:   Diplopoda (having two legs per segment)

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2 thoughts on “Very First Land Creature

  1. I believe your “Mystery Fossil 1” is not a fossil, but a reductive rock. If you were to crack it open you’d find the perfect circle is actually a sphere. It is created by some foreign material that is introduced into the rock which results in bleaching. It is the same idea as if you were to put a drop of bleach on blue jeans and it would expand into a circle. We have many reductive rocks where I live in NM, but they are not common elsewhere. You can find me and many more people helping to identify fossils at “thefossilforum.com”

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