Oldest known scorpion discovery featured in Scientific Reports

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Image of scorpion from this publication highlighting different parts of the organism
Image from publication courtesy of alumnus Andrew Wendruff

 

Earth Sciences professor Loren Babcock, along with former Earth Sciences student Andrew Wendruff, have published their discovery of the oldest-known scorpion fossil while studying fossils unearthed in Wisconsin 35 years ago in Scientific Reports. This scorpion likely had the ability to breathe both on land as well as well as in ancient oceans, which gives a glimpse into how animals transitioned from living in oceans to living on land as scorpions do today.

"We’re looking at the oldest known scorpion — the oldest known member of the arachnid lineage, which has been one of the most successful land-going creatures in all of Earth history, and beyond that, what is of even greater significance is that we’ve identified a mechanism by which animals made that critical transition from a marine habitat to a terrestrial habitat. It provides a model for other kinds of animals that have made that transition including, potentially, vertebrate animals. It’s a groundbreaking discovery."

Read more about this discovery in Ohio State News.