Paleontologists made a remarkable history by finding a fossil of an extinct primordial giant worm with terrifying snapping jaws. This prehistoric worm is known as Websteroprion Armstrong and it used to roam around the sea around 400 million years ago from today.
Researchers from the University of Bristol, Lund University in Sweden and the Royal Ontario Museum studied an ancient fossil, which has been stored at the museum since the mid-1990s, and discovered the remains of a giant extinct bristle worm (the marine relatives of earthworms and leeches).
Based on the fossil, they think the worm was over three feet long and had jaws over a quarter of an inch in size. Usually, the jaws of these kinds of worm are much tinier. Typically, such fossil jaws are only a few millimeters in size and need to be studied using microscopes.
“Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance,” the lead author of a new study on the worm, Mats Eriksson of Lund University, said in a statement. “It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species.”
The findings were first published on the journal, Scientific Reports.
The scientists gave the new worm species an interesting name: Websteroprion armstrongi. The second part of that name is in honor of Derek K Armstrong, a member of the Ontario Geological Survey who took the helicopter ride to collect the samples in the first place.
The first part is more interesting. That’s in honor of a musician named Alex Webster, a bass player for Cannibal Corpse, a death metal band. According to the statement on the discovery, this is because Webster was a “giant” on the bass, just like the worm itself was giant.