Facts about Arthropleura, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Arthropleura



Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Superphylum Ecdysozoa
  (unranked) Panarthropoda
  Phylum Arthropoda
  Subphylum Myriapoda
  Class Arthropleuridea
  Order Arthropleurida
  Family Arthropleuridae
  Genus Arthropleura
Arthropleura was a genus of giant arthropod, related to centipedes and millipedes that lived in North America and Scotland during the Carboniferous period, between about 340 and 280 million years ago.

Arthropleura is the largest known land invertebrate of all time, and was between 1 and 8½ feet long (0.3 to 2.6 meters). It was able to grow so large, because at the time it lived, there was a higher proportion of oxygen in the air than today, and there was also few terrestrial vertebrate carnivores.

Arthropleura is believed to have mostly lived on land (fossil tracks are relatively common), in a forest environment, but may also have been capable of travelling under water. Some scientists even believe that it may have returned to lakes or rivers in order to moult and grow a new shell.

No fossil mouth parts of Arthropleura have ever been found, so it is not entirely clear what it ate. It was once assumed to have been a carnivore (meat-eater), but the discovery of fossilized pollen in the animal's guts, has now led scientists to suggest it was probably a herbivore (plant-eater).

Arthropleura Timeline:

Arthropleura was a massive relative of centipedes and millipedes that lived from about 340 to 280 million years ago

Arthropleura was a massive relative of centipedes and millipedes that lived from about 340 to 280 million years ago

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