Arthropleura – Germany’s ‘Fossil of the Year’ 2016

Jens Lehmann (Germany) Since 2008, the largest palaeontological association in Germany – the Paläontologische Gesellschaft – has awarded the crown for ‘Fossil of the Year’ for fossils that are of special scientific interest or that are commonplace in that they are on display in many institutions. A ‘Fossil of the year’ can also be easy to collect species, encountered by many amateur enthusiasts. Among others, the largest ammonite in the world in the museum of Münster and the spectacular dinosaur skeleton of Brachiosaurus from East Africa in Berlin have won the title. This is the fifth time the award has been given, but is actually the first time the crown has been given to a fossil species and not to an individual fossil find. This year’s title went to Arthropleura armata, a remarkable arthropod species resembling recent millipedes and centipedes (Fig. 1). However, details of the phylogenetic relationships of the order Arthropleurida to millipedes are still debated (for example, Krauss, 2003a, b). And the arthropleurids reached significantly larger dimensions, with a total length of more than two metres (Fig. 1) and, therefore, are the largest arthropods ever to have lived on land. The first occurrence of the genus Arthropleura dates back into the period of the massive coal swamps of the late Carboniferous and they became extinct at the end of the early Permian – during the first phase of the supercontinent Pangaea. Arthropleura lived 280 to 340mya, but related arthropleurids (order Eoarthropleurida) continued to exist into the Silurian. Fig. … Read More

To access this post, you must purchase Annual subscription, 12 Month Subscription or Monthly subscription.
%d bloggers like this: