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      The Chelicerae of Slimonia (Eurypterida; Pterygotoidea)

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          Morphology, taxonomy, and classification of the order Eurypterida Burmeister, 1843

          Standards have been empirically developed to describe various morphological characters of eurypterids. The standards pertain to the following characters: 1) shape of the prosoma; 2) shape of the metastoma; 3) shape of the eyes; 4) position of the eyes; 5) types of prosomal appendages; 6) types of swimming leg paddles; 7) structure of the doublure; 8) differentiation of the opisthosoma; 9) structure of the genital appendages; 10) shape of the telson; and 11) types of ornamentation.
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            Giant claw reveals the largest ever arthropod.

            The fossil record has yielded various gigantic arthropods, in contrast to their diminutive proportions today. The recent discovery of a 46 cm long claw (chelicera) of the pterygotid eurypterid ('sea scorpion') Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, from the Early Devonian Willwerath Lagerstätte of Germany, reveals that this form attained a body length of approximately 2.5 m-almost half a metre longer than previous estimates of the group, and the largest arthropod ever to have evolved. Gigantism in Late Palaeozoic arthropods is generally attributed to elevated atmospheric oxygen levels, but while this may be applicable to Carboniferous terrestrial taxa, gigantism among aquatic taxa is much more widespread and may be attributed to other extrinsic factors, including environmental resources, predation and competition. A phylogenetic analysis of the pterygotid clade reveals that Jaekelopterus is sister-taxon to the genus Acutiramus, and is among the most derived members of the pterygotids, in contrast to earlier suggestions.
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              Cope's Rule and Romer's theory: patterns of diversity and gigantism in eurypterids and Palaeozoic vertebrates.

              Gigantism is widespread among Palaeozoic arthropods, yet causal mechanisms, particularly the role of (abiotic) environmental factors versus (biotic) competition, remain unknown. The eurypterids (Arthropoda: Chelicerata) include the largest arthropods; gigantic predatory pterygotids (Eurypterina) during the Siluro-Devonian and bizarre sweep-feeding hibbertopterids (Stylonurina) from the Carboniferous to end-Permian. Analysis of family-level originations and extinctions among eurypterids and Palaeozoic vertebrates show that the diversity of Eurypterina waned during the Devonian, while the Placodermi radiated, yet Stylonurina remained relatively unaffected; adopting a sweep-feeding strategy they maintained their large body size by avoiding competition, and persisted throughout the Late Palaeozoic while the predatory nektonic Eurypterina (including the giant pterygotids) declined during the Devonian, possibly out-competed by other predators including jawed vertebrates.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History
                Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History
                Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History
                0079-032X
                April 1 2022
                April 21 2022
                : 63
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506 USA—email:
                Article
                10.3374/014.063.0102
                7863d95f-3385-496c-bf3f-8e2a37d06172
                © 2022
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