Palaeophonus

Name: Palaeophonus ‭(‬Ancient murderer‭).
Phonetic: Pay-le-oh-foe-nus.
Named By: Thorell‭ & ‬Lindstrom‭ ‬-‭ ‬1884.
Classification: Arthropoda,‭ ‬Chelicerata,‭ ‬Arachnida,‭ ‬Scorpiones,‭ ‬Protoscorpiones.
Species: P.‭ ‬arctus,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬nuncius.
Diet: Insectivore/Carnivore‭?
Size: Around‭ ‬7‭ ‬to‭ ‬8‭ ‬centimetres long from head to tip of the telson‭ (‬barb on the end of the tail‭)‬.
Known locations: Canada,‭ ‬New Brunswick.‭ ‬Europe.
Time period: Bashkirian to Moscovian of the Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Preserved flat on rocks.

       Palaeophonus is one of the oldest known scorpions but there is uncertainty as to if it was fully terrestrial.‭ ‬Although the body seems to have been adapted for life on land,‭ ‬the respiratory openings usually seen in terrestrial scorpions have so far gone unobserved in Palaeophonus.‭ ‬Despite this uncertainty Palaeophonus seems to have been well upon the path to the modern form.‭ ‬The telson‭ (‬the spike in the end of tail‭) ‬is already formed into a barb for the delivery of poison.‭ ‬Like with today’s scorpions,‭ ‬Palaeophonus would have seized prey in its pincers and then stung it to subdue it while it fed.‭ ‬The most likely prey types for Palaeophonus would have been other small invertebrates,‭ ‬but if it were aquatic,‭ ‬it may have also included fish and small‭ (‬possibly juvenile stage‭) ‬amphibians into its diet.‭ ‬In turn,‭ ‬Palaeophonus may have been prey to the larger amphibian or indeed reptilian predators of the Carboniferous.‭ ‬It is quite possible that larger predatory invertebrates of the time may have also preyed upon Palaeophonus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬On some remarkable organisms of the Silurian and Devonian rocks in southern New Brunswick,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Matthew‭ ‬-‭ ‬1889.



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