Scientists have found the remains of a recently extinct marine predator in Greenland: the “terror monster”, or “Temurbestia” in Latin. These sea worms are said to have ruled the oceans for more than 500 million years.
Researchers from the British University of Bristol found fossils of a previously unknown predatory marine creature during an expedition north of the Arctic island of Greenland. They are marine worms that can reach 30 cm in length. They have a distinctive head, long antennae, strong jaws, and fins on the sides.
“Timorbestia was a giant in its time and was near the top of the food chain,” explains Jacob Venter from the University of Bristol. “This makes them equal in importance to some of the best marine carnivores of modern times, such as sharks and seals of the Cambrian period.”
It is believed that marine worms were one of the largest swimming animals more than 518 million years ago. According to scientists, they “been around for about 10 to 15 million years until they were displaced by other, more successful groups.”
Experts hope that the discovery of these “unique predators” will help reveal the shape and evolution of the first animal ecosystems.
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