Some researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, have unveiled their findings as to a 46-centimetre eurypterid claw which was found near Prüm in Germany. After some fevered calculations and ratio checking the fossil is now believed to have belonged to the largest sea scorpion ever discovered. As Nature reports, “At 2.5 meters, this monster was bigger than a man.” Eeek.

To give you a real sense of scale I’ve included the image above, in which we see a eurypterid beside both Jean Paul Sartre’s grave, which he shares with Simone de Beauvoir, and a certain Duane Schneider from the hit 1970’s television show One Day at a Time. Hopefully that gives you some perspective.

(Story brought to my attention by the excellent Heraclitean Fire.)

11.22. filed under: science. wtf.

Duane could take that thing. Even after a night of “getting down” at the Lupercalia! Ha!


posted on 11.22 at 09:48 PMJoe Moran

Ha! Original opening title? Several followed. Tag!


posted on 11.23 at 06:00 PM.

It’s just a goddam shame that we couldn’t bag one of those eurypterids and cook that sumbitch with garlic butter. You know it would be awesome. That’s what Schneider would do.

Now let me tell you a modern monster story.

I spent the second week of November in Austin, Texas (i.e. flew back to NC ten days ago). Lovely weather, 70 to 80 nearly the whole time. Love that place. Saw Booker T and the MG’s, also a couple of reggae bands, ate great BBQ and drank lots of good beer an’ wine, and scored a Cebuano coconut ukulele at an antique store for $23. Good times.

When nothing else much was going on, I would duck out of my stepson’s house and go to the mostly-dry creekbed a hundred yards away. There are a few pools of water with minnows, but unless there’s a good rain, no creek. There are many thousands of fossils; Cretaceous seashells, predominantly ram’s-horn oysters. I climbed up the other side to look in the sticky gray clay for fresher specimens, and saw a lovely little burgundy-colored toad. I climbed back down, and noticed a caterpillar on the rock I had just stepped over.

Cutest little thing you ever did see. It looked like a tiny gray guinea pig, totally covered with fur. You couldn’t even see its face. I thought, “Look at this little guy! You just want to put him in a terrarium and name him Furbish!” I tried to get him to climb on a leaf, but he didn’t want to. I didn’t touch him. I once heard that some hairy caterpillars can sting. On returning to the house I did a Google image search for ‘woolly caterpillar.’ And that is how I learned that little Furbish down there in the gully was in fact a Puss Caterpillar:

Holy Shit. Holy Shit Piss Fuck.

Moral: If you’re someplace far from home, and you see something you’ve never seen in your life, don’t touch it.

posted on 11.23 at 09:22 PM.

@Joe: Believe me Joe if my skill set included video editing I’d be all over that clip. Sea Scorpions would absolutely abound.

@Tom: Ha! Christ Tom, you got lucky on that one. I know if it were me I wouldn’t have touched it, no matter how cuddly it looked. Insects, of any kind, house vast unknowable and terrifying otherness from another dimension as far as I’m concerned. I’m happy to look at them, ponder their evil, or even squash them if I’m called upon to by my girlfriend, but no cuddling.

posted on 11.24 at 12:54 PMjmorrison

I smell a contest. No?



posted on 11.24 at 04:13 PM.

It’s a fabulous thing, isn’t it. One thing I haven’t encountered in all the coverage, not that I’ve looked very hard, is: what did it eat? how did it live? Did it lurk behind convenient rocks waiting at jump out at prey? Eat the corpses drifting down from above? Or what?

posted on 11.24 at 04:58 PMHarry

@Harry: In one of the eurypterid links I went through while looking for a good image someone had written about them lying in wait for prey, but it might have been more of a gee whiz! fanciful kind of thing. Also, at this size, what the hell would they lie in wait for?

posted on 11.24 at 05:07 PMjmorrison

Unicorns. They ate unicorns. The unicorns didn’t stand a chance. When the unicorns were gone, the eurypterids starved. It’s a cruel, hilarious world.

posted on 11.24 at 06:55 PM.

Amazing. Never seen one like that.

posted on 07.29 at 11:44 PMMudflow

return to the front page