400 Million-Year-Old Monster Worm Named After Cannibal Corpse’s Alex Webster
A terrifying monster worm so gigantic it could swallow fish has been discovered and identified by an international team of scientists. The extinct (thankfully) primordial worm is so brutal, it’s been named after Cannibal Corpse bassist Alex Webster.
According to Phys.org, the fossil has actually been stored at Royal Ontario Museum since the mid-1990s. Despite two decades of being right under the nose of scientists, the worm species, Websteroprion Armstrongi, was just categorized and published in Scientific Reports today (Feb. 21).
Websteroprion Armstrongi actually demonstrates a rare case of gigantism in marine worms. It possessed the largest jaws ever recorded in this type of creature, reaching over one centimeter in length, easily visible to the naked eye. It’s believed that Websteroprion Armstrongi could achieve a body length of over one meter (3.2 feet)!
"Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance,” says lithosphere and biosphere science professor Mats Eriksson. "It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species. The new species demonstrates a unique case of polychaete gigantism in the Palaeozoic, some 400 million years ago."
The worm was named after Alex Webster due to his monstrous musicianship on bass. "This is fitting also since, beside our appetite for evolution and paleontology, all three authors have a profound interest in music and are keen hobby musicians,” says Luke Parry of the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences.
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