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The fierce prehistoric worm of the deep.

A new species of “worm Bobbitt” fossil, a eunicide, and ‘was recently discovered in Canada, thanks to the discovery of the casts of his gigantic (in proportion) mandibles. The eunicidi marine worms are appalling: up to two meters long, have prodigious jaws capable of breaking the corals and whose scissors movement has earned the species Eunice aphroditois and species like the common name of “worm Bobbitt”, named after Lorena Bobbitt, the American woman who in the nineties became famous for having emasculated her husband.

The new species which lived in the Devonian, about 400 million years ago, and was given the name of Websteroprion armstrongi. A double homage: Derek Armstrong is the Ontario Geological Survey researcher who in a June day in 1994 that he brought in a helicopter on an outcrop isolated and temporary on Rabbit Ridge near Hudson Bay, in Ontario, and returned with a series of plates that left the Royal Ontario Museum, where they were stored.

The plates were recently rediscovered and studied by an international team, and the results were published in Scientific Reports. The three researchers, as well as love for paleontology, also share a passion for metal music: why they chose to pay homage, as Websteroprion, even Alex Webster, of the Cannibal Corpse bassist, a death metal band. A “giant” among bass players, according to the authors, all musicians for hobby, exactly how this fossil is a “giant” among the worms.

About one centimeter long (compared to 2 mm of the mean of sea worms), the jaws of Websteroprion armstrongi are among the largest ever found for this kind of worms.

Suggest a long creature at least one meter, that as the current eunicidi hunted ambush grabbing passing fish with jaws and dragging them in their den to devour them, usually still alive. Gigantism in animals and ‘an intriguing and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance. However and ‘a little understood phenomenon among marine worms and had never been demonstrated before in a fossil species.



To open the video click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.