|Evolution of plants
ferns The oldest
Four very old plants Parka Myriapods Crock Hey (Seed) ferns Scorpion Lepidodendron Sigillaria Calamites
Wood of Calamites Cordaites The leaf of Neuropteris Little animals Graissessac Psaronius Permian of Lodève
Bayreuth Yorkshire Gymnosperm wood Tree fern Tempskya Palm wood Hardwood Manosque Links Eight fossils
A scorpion from the Carboniferous of the Piesberg
Sunday 4 October 2006 a few members of the Dutch Geological Association made
an excursion to the large quarry in the Piesberg near Osnabrück (Germany).
It was raining cats and dogs and the finding was disappointing. Yet it was
going to be a memorable day, for one member of the group, Adri Delcour, saw
a somewhat strange fossil on a big block next to the road. She didn't know
what it was, but she thought it interesting enough to take it with her. With
difficulty she beat parts of the fossil from the solid rock.
Since then this rare find has been described scientifically by Dr. Jason Dunlop from Berlin and Prof. Carsten Brauckmann from Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Dunlop et al, 2008, see below).
Below is a photo of the fossil itself. The drawing has been made with the camera lucida. This is an optical instrument to create an image which can be traced on paper. The pictures are taken from the publication mentioned above. Click on the left picture to get an enlargement.
The age of the fossil
The Piesberg is known for his rich and diverse Upper Carboniferous flora. But in recent years also more and more animal fossils are found. Still they are very rare, but extensive collecting has yielded members of the following groups: horseshoe crabs (Euproops), spiderlike animals (Aphantomartus), Arthropleurida (a kind of giant myriapods: Arthropleura), fish scales (Palaeoniscida), egg cases of sharks (Palaeoxyris) and a tooth of a vertebrate. Freshwater shells also occur, but there are rare.
Description of the fossil
As for the fossil: the prosoma and a part of mesosoma are preserved in positive and the tail and the rear part of the mesosoma are preserved in negative. A separate piece shows a leg with a claw. The total length of the animal in life will have been about 11 cm.
Click on the drawing to see an enlargement of the reconstruction and to get a more detailed description of the fossil.
A point to mention is that there is a difference in preservation: the
Mazon Creek scorpion is embedded in a siderite concretion (an iron compound),
while the one from the Piesberg is preserved in shale. The way in which a
fossil has been preserved can have consequences for the form.
The scorpion is displayed in the Piesberg exhibition in the museum 'Am Schölerberg' at Osnabrück (Germany).