Giant marine worms lived 475 million years ago: scientists

August 3, 2009
This undated picture released by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) shows fossilised tracks in the Cabaneros National Park of central Spain, lasting evidence of a type of an ancient giant worm that lived 475 million years ago and was up to one metre (three feet) in length.

Spanish researchers said Monday they have discovered evidence of a type of giant worm that lived 475 million years ago and was up to one metre (three feet) in length.

The fossilised tracks of the marine worms were found in the Cabaneros National Park in central Spain in an area that was a seabed during the Lower Ordovician period, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) said.

It said the creatures lived in horizontal galleries of five metres in length and 15-20 centimetres in diameter under the seabed.

The galleries were lined "with mucous secretions to harden them and prevent their collapse, which has facilitated their preservation," said paleontologist Juan Carlos Gutierrez Marco.

They are the "oldest tracks of giant worms" ever discovered, pre-dating those found in Devon, England, this year and which dated from 200 million years ago, the CSIC quoted him as saying.

He explained why the , which were up to one metre in length and 15 centimetres in diameter, could attain such great size.

"For more than 450 millions years ago our country was part of a marine platform of an ancient continent called Gondwana," Gutierrez Marco said.

"The Iberian Peninsula was then near the south pole of the era. Organisms living in very cold water have a metabolism that allows them to grow bigger -- what is known as polar gigantism."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Researchers find fossils of new type of European camel

Related Stories

Iceberg Scour Affects Biodiversity

July 17, 2008

Antarctic worms, sea spiders, urchins and other marine creatures living in near-shore shallow habitats are regularly pounded by icebergs. New data suggests this environment along the Antarctic Peninsula is going to get hit ...

New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears

March 18, 2008

Brown bears from the Iberian Peninsula are not as genetically different from other brown bears in Europe as was previously thought. An international study being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

Second ancient whale found in Italy

April 2, 2007

The skeleton of a 33-foot-long prehistoric whale has been discovered in what was once an ancient seabed in Italy's Tuscany region.

Researcher Identifies Tracks Of Swimming Dinosaur In Wyoming

October 17, 2005

The tracks of a previously unknown, two-legged swimming dinosaur have been identified along the shoreline of an ancient inland sea that covered Wyoming 165 million years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder ...

Scientists Discover Ancient Marine Reptiles

July 26, 2006

A team led by University of Adelaide palaeontologist Dr Benjamin Kear has identified two new species of ancient marine reptiles that swam the shallow waters of an inland sea in Australia 115 million years ago.

Recommended for you

Amber specimen offers rare glimpse of feathered dinosaur tail

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a dinosaur tail complete with its feathers trapped in a piece of amber. The finding reported in Current Biology on December 8 helps to fill in details of the dinosaurs' feather structure and evolution, ...

Scheduling leisure activities makes them less fun: study

December 8, 2016

Nothing ruins a potentially fun event like putting it on your calendar. In a series of studies, researchers found that scheduling a leisure activity like seeing a movie or taking a coffee break led people to anticipate less ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

QubitTamer
3.5 / 5 (4) Aug 03, 2009
i for one welcome our ancient wormy masters!!!!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.