Most of us remember the dinosaurs to be one of the oldest living animals on earth. But new research from Scotland has bewildered all of us. An insect, Kampecaris, about 1-inch long, lived almost 425 million years ago on land. The fossilized creature shows multiple resemblances to modern-day millipedes making them one of the oldest species on this planet. It is by far the oldest animal on land.
According to the research, Kapecaris obanensis is an insect from the Silurian period. The fossil was in the islands of Kerrera in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. However, fossils of one of the oldest known stem plants, Cooksonia, is also a finding of the same region. Kampecaris is the oldest known land-animals, but soil worms predate them by almost 20 million years by appearing around 450 million years ago. The entire research is available in the online journal, Historical Biology.
A 425-million-year-old millipede fossil from the Scottish island of Kerrera is the world’s oldest “bug,” according to a team of Jackson School scientists: https://t.co/V4mJntr9Dh pic.twitter.com/14HoV73ju1
— UT Jackson School of Geosciences (@txgeosciences) May 27, 2020
Kampecaris: Oldest known land animal
Kampecaris is by definition an arthropod which is about 2.5 cm long along with a segmented body. However, arthropods are a part of a broader group of insects which include insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and crustaceans like crabs and shrimp.
Life first evolved in the world’s oceans, with an explosion of diversity beginning roughly 540 million years ago. It took quite some time for life to emerge onto land, beginning with plants like mosses approximately 450 million years ago. The later advent of plants with stems like Cooksonia helped usher in more complex terrestrial ecosystems.
This makes this insect the oldest living animal on land, even before the rule of dinosaurs. But the first land vertebrates, amphibians that evolved from fish with brawny fins that inhabited shallow waters, showed up almost 375 million years ago. These are the ancestors of the reptiles, birds, and mammals alive today including our species. However, according to the timeline, we came here almost 300,000 years ago. Let us know what you think of this in the comments section below!