PrehiScotInktoberfest 22 takes us to Silurian Stonehaven, some 423 million years ago, to the beginning of life on land.
The rocks of Cowie Harbour bear fossils that seem small and
unremarkable at first: three millipedes, none approaching the gargantuan
proportions of their descendent Arthropleura - but their age means they
are among the oldest known terrestrial animals.
One of these millipedes is
Cowiedesmus eroticopodus ("Cowie Bridge with the Erotic Feet"), only
4cm long. Cowie was quite difficult to draw, as aside from
palaeontological diagrams and photos of the fossil, I can't seem to find
any other reconstructions of the beastie. Could this be the first piece
of Cowiedesmus palaeoart? Hopefully it isn't too inaccurate!
You might notice one pair of its legs is rather different from the
others: they are unique to Cowie among the Stonehaven Bugs, from a
single fossil which only preserves from the head to the 8th segment. It
is theorised that these legs had some sort of mating use: either they
were claspers which helped them hold on to each other, or they were
gonopods, which were... well, you're on the internet, you can Google it.
"Weel hullo err hen! Gonnae check oot the gonopod show owur here!" *flexes adorably*
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