Eurypterids belonged to an incrediby successful animal group that survived around 250 million years. They were scorpionlike water creatures that hunted fish and other prey. Giant eurypterids, larger then mordern-day humans, and equipped with hugeclaws for crushing their victims were among the most fearsome predaters of their day.
Some types were probably the first among the ancient animals to move between water and dry land. Early eurypterids lived in the seas, but fossil trackways prove that they could also crawl onto beaches. As well as large gills for breathing underwater, they also had a second set of small gills letting them breath in air.
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At the last count, scientists list around 300 species of eurypterid , dividing them into 22 families.
Eurypteirds had their heyday in the Silurian and Devonian periods (about 410-360 million years ago). They vanished shortly before the dinosaurs appeared, during a mass extinction that affected many other creatures as well.
During the times in which they lived, eurypterids were probably the largest animals in the world.
The eurypterid, Eurypterus Remipes, was chosen as the offical state fossil of New York in 1984. Fossils of the species are among the most common in New York State-which in fact is one of the world's best places to find eurypterids.
Length: From a few inches to more than 6ft in the largest
Diet: Other invertebrates and, in the larger species, fish
Meaning of Name: "Wide Wings," referring to the paddlelike hindlinbs
They looked weird