Discovered in early 2020, the Parioscorpio Venator used to walk the earth during the early Silurian period, more than 400 million years ago. And when we say it walked the earth, we mean it literally, which was a big deal back then, and you’re about to see why. All terrestrial animals as we know them today have evolved from aquatic life. Those were the earliest stages of evolution, as each species started adapting to different forms of life. There have been numerous questions about this evolutionary process as far as arachnids are concerned. This newly discovered scorpion is the oldest one ever found and could shed some light on the way its kind has evolved into living on land.
Parioscorpio Venator means “progenitor scorpion hunter.” This fossil dates back between 437.5 and 436.5 million years ago. Before it was discovered, the oldest scorpion fossil mankind knew about was the Dolichophonus Loudonensis, which was roughly 434 million years old and found in Scotland.
Two Parioscorpio Venator fossils were found at an excavation site by a shallow tropical sea. This little critter used to share a habitat with aquatic animals such as cephalopods, trilobites, and worms, but it wasn’t 100% aquatic itself. Upon studying the ancient scorpion’s anatomy, scientists were able to conclude it spent some time on dry land, making it one of the earliest air-breathers known to man. It turns out that scorpions were the first species to fully transition into living on land. Through the Parioscorpio Venator, scientists are finally able to see the kind of biological adaptations that allowed the scorpion to move away from the water and explore other habitats.
To be honest, the Parioscorpio Venator fossils were discovered in Wisconsin in 1985, but they weren’t actually studied until now so all the fossil-related discoveries are brand new. The scientists who saw the potential in the fossils are Loren Babcock and Andrew Wendruff from Ohio State University and Otterbein University, respectively.