Meet the 8-Foot ‘Sea Scorpion’ that Lived in New York
New Yorkers are very familiar with most of the wildlife found in our state. From land animals like racoons and deer to our friends in the sky like the bald eagle and Canada goose, most are common sights. But what about a giant "sea scorpion"?
This planet is unfathomably old, and creatures far stranger than moose or cicada killer wasps have roamed this land far before Hudson Valley humans even dreamed of opening up a farm stand. Meet Eurypterus remipes.
Ancient Fossils in New York State
"[October 11th] is National Fossil Day!", the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) announced on their Facebook page. The photo they shared showed a fairly massive fossil that looked like a cross between a mermaid and a weaponized lobster. From the NYS DEC:
The New York State Fossil is Eurypterus remipes (the first eurypterid ever discovered). Eurypterids (pronounced, "yur-IP-ter-ids"), commonly known as sea scorpions, are a now extinct group of arthropods related to horseshoe crabs, scorpions, spiders, and ticks
What may be the most interesting thing about Eurypterus remipes (other than the fact that they lived over 400 million years ago) is their size. While the smallest examples of the ancient sea predator measure just 2.5 inches, the largest could grow to over 8 feet long.
Popular Fossils in New York State
New York is a hotbed for fossils. From trilobites (above) to brachiopods (below), you never know what a local rock will hold. The comment section on the NYS DEC's post was filled with other nature enthusiasts sharing their own prehistoric finds.
Fossils can also give residents a different perspective of history when they come face-to-face with relics from millions of years ago. While stories of the Hudson Valley seem to often only go as far back as the Revolutionary War, it's a welcome reminder that these "sea scorpions" were here first. But if military history is your thing...
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Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio
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