Tech & Science : Fossils of giant new species of sea creature found on South Australia's Kangaroo Island - PressFrom - Australia
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Tech & Science Fossils of giant new species of sea creature found on South Australia's Kangaroo Island

04:12  14 june  2019
04:12  14 june  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The fossils of a giant new species of sea creature are discovered on South Australia ' s Kangaroo Island — and with its formidable legs with spines used for crushing and shredding food, scientists are comparing it to Tyrannosaurus rex.

Fossils of a giant new species from the long-extinct group of sea creatures called trilobites have been found on Kangaroo Island , South Australia . The finding is adding important insights to our knowledge of the Cambrian explosion, the greatest diversification event in the history of life on Earth

The fossils of a giant new species of sea creature have been found on Kangaroo Island, with experts saying it was likely the "terror" of other creatures on the seafloor.

Fossils of giant new species of sea creature found on South Australia's Kangaroo Island© Provided by ABC News An artist's impression of a Redlichia rex trilobite. Researchers said the discovery of a group of sea creatures called trilobites added insights to knowledge of the Cambrian explosion, the greatest diversification event in the history of life on Earth.

The fossils, called Redlichia rex, were the largest Cambrian trilobite to be discovered in Australia.

Trilobites, which had hard, calcified, armour-like skeletons over their bodies, were related to modern crustaceans and insects.

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Fossils of a giant new species from the long-extinct group of sea creatures called trilobites have been found on Kangaroo Island , South Australia . The finding is adding important insights to our knowledge of the Cambrian ‘explosion’, the greatest diversification event in the history of life on Earth

Fossils of a giant new species from the long-extinct group of sea creatures called trilobites have been found at Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island . The new species was discovered at the Emu Bay shale fossil grounds at Big Gully on Kangaroo Island

They were one of the most successful fossil animal groups, surviving for about 270 million years.

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Fossils of a giant new species from the long-extinct group of sea creatures called trilobites have been found on Kangaroo Island , South Australia . The finding is adding important insights to our knowledge of the Cambrian 'explosion', the greatest diversification event in the history of life on Earth

Kangaroo Island is Australia ' s third-largest island , after Tasmania and Melville Island . It lies in the state of South Australia 112 km (70 mi) southwest of Adelaide.

The new species was discovered at Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island, where more than 100 other species were discovered, including some with soft parts intact.

Fossils of giant new species of sea creature found on South Australia's Kangaroo Island© ABC Radio Adelaide A different Redichlia fossil discovered at Emu Bay. "We decided to name this new species of trilobite Redlichia rex — similar to Tyrannosaurus rex — because of its giant size, as well as its formidable legs with spines used for crushing and shredding food, which may have been other trilobites," University of Adelaide PhD student James Holmes said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology by a team of scientists from the University of Adelaide, South Australian Museum and the University of New England led by Mr Holmes.

A giant of the ancient ocean

Redlichia rex is the largest Cambrian trilobite found in Australia, growing to about 30 centimetres long — or twice the length of other trilobites of about the same age.

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A fossil of the giant new trilobite species Redlichia rex. James Holmes, Author provided. A giant species of trilobite inhabited Australian It is called the Emu Bay Shale and is found on Kangaroo Island in South Australia . The most common fossils within the Emu Bay Shale are trilobites.

Australia ' s third largest island (after Tasmania and Melville Island ), it lies off the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia , about 112 kilometers Cuddling koalas and hand-feeding kangaroos and wallabies are favorite activities at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park. More than 150 species of native Australian

"Interestingly, trilobite specimens from the Emu Bay Shale — including Redlichia rex — exhibit injuries that were caused by shell-crushing predators," said senior study author Associate Professor Diego Garcia-Bellido, from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum.

"There are also large specimens of fossilised poo — or coprolites — containing trilobite fragments in this fossil deposit."

Mr Holmes said one of the major drivers of the Cambrian explosion was likely an evolutionary "arms race" between predators and prey.

"The overall size and crushing legs of Redlichia rex are a likely consequence of the arms race that occurred at this time," Mr Holmes said.

"This giant trilobite was likely the terror of smaller creatures on the Cambrian seafloor."

Specimens of Redlichia rex and other Emu Bay Shale fossils are on display in the South Australian Museum.

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