Pneumodesmus

genus of millipedes

Pneumodesmus newmani is a species of millipede that lived in the Paleozoic era. Its exact age is uncertain. 428 million years ago in the late Silurian was first suggested.[1][2] A later study suggested the early Devonian.[3]

Pneumodesmus
Temporal range: Late Silurian/Early Devonian
Pneumodesmus newmani - MUSE.JPG
Reconstruction of Pneumodesmus newmani
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
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Genus:
Pneumodesmus
Species:
P. newmani
Binomial name
Pneumodesmus newmani
Wilson & Anderson, 2004 [1]

It is the first myriapod fossil, and the oldest known creature to have lived on land.[4] The single specimen was discovered in 2004 near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.[2]

Discovery and namingEdit

The fossil of P. newmani was found by Mike Newman. He is a bus driver and amateur palaeontologist from Aberdeen. The fossil was in a layer of sandstone rocks on the foreshore of Cowie, near Stonehaven.[5] The species was later called "newmani" in honour of its finder. The fossil is kept in National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.[6]

DescriptionEdit

In the photograph above, you can see the back is covered with hard plates, and wispy slender legs. The animal is definitely segmented, and it is like, or related to, millipedes.[1]

Its cuticle has what look like openings or spiracles. These are part of a gas exchange system that would work in air. So P. newmani is thought to be the earliest documented arthropod with a tracheal system, and the first known oxygen-breathing animal on land.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Heather M. Wilson & Lyall I. Anderson (2004). "Morphology and taxonomy of Paleozoic millipedes (Diplopoda: Chilognatha: Archipolypoda) from Scotland". Journal of Paleontology. 78 (1): 169–184. doi:10.1666/0022-3360(2004)078<0169:MATOPM>2.0.CO;2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Fossil find 'oldest land animal'". BBC News. 2004.
  3. Suarez, Stephanie E.; et al. (2017). "A U-Pb zircon age constraint on the oldest-recorded air-breathing land animal". PLoS ONE. 12 (6): e0179262. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0179262.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Fossil millipede found to be oldest land creature". CNN (from Reuters). 2004.
  5. "Pneumodesmus newmani Exhibition". Stonehaven Guide. Archived from the original on 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  6. Selden, Paul & Read, Helen (2008). "The oldest land animals: Silurian millipedes from Scotland" (PDF). Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group. 23: 36–37.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)