Scientists Uncovered The World's Oldest Land Animal. It's 425 Million Years Old.

June 3, 2020
Oldest Land Know animal

Scientists found the fossil of a creature on the island of Kerrera in Scotland. Based on observations, they have concluded that the fossil belongs to the world's oldest land animal. And yes, it predates the dinosaurs.

The scientific name for the creature is Kampecaris obanensis and scientists says it lived during the Silurian Period, way back when sea levels were much higher, 425 million years ago.

The Animal

The Kempecaris, having an inch long segmented body, resembles the millipedes of this era but it's not an ancestor of today's millipedes as scientists believe its a member of an extinct group.


Sadly, the arthropod's legs were not preserved in the fossil. (insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and crustaceans like crabs and shrimp are considered arthropods.)
The scientists believe the millipede-like creature lived in lakeside environment and most likely ate plants that were decomposing. They say this, because the fossils of the oldest known plant with a stem was found close to where they saw the fossil of the creature.

Is it really the world's oldest animal?

Well, it all depends on how you look at it; because the lead author of the research, palaeontologist Michael Brookfield of the University of Texas and the University of Massachusetts Boston, said that soil worms probably predates this millipede by 25 million years.


Artist's rendition of how the creature could have looked like. IMAGE: Small Tech News.

Since life arrived from the planet's ocean, the myriad of species came into being 540 million years ago. Plants such as mosses were among the first to emerge onto land some 450 million years ago. The later advent of plants such as Cooksonia ushered in more land creatures.

To put things into perspective, our ancestors, the first land vertebrates aka amphibians, only showed up 375 million years ago. This millipede is way older than them.


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