5-speed listening (Giant Millipedes - Level 3)

Fossil found of giant car-sized insect



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If you are afraid of insects, this might be difficult reading. A fossil found on a beach in England shows that the biggest bug that ever lived was the size of a small car. The fossil is of a giant millipede. This monster creature could have had hundreds of legs. Although the name "millipede" means "one thousand legs" in Latin, few species actually have 1,000 feet. There is one species that can have 1,300 legs. The fossil hunters in England said what they found is "definitely the biggest bug that ever lived". They said the millipede was around 2.7 metres long and weighed over 50kg. This would have been a scary sight. It would need a huge amount of insect spray to keep it away.

The scientists found the fossil by chance. A lecturer at the University of Cambridge's department of earth sciences said they found a rock on the beach. It had recently fallen from a cliff. He said: "It was a complete fluke of a discovery. It was an incredibly exciting find." He explained that the fossil dates back over 326 million years. This was 100 million years before the Age of the Dinosaurs. The researchers believe that the millipede had a high-nutrient diet because it was so huge. They said: "While we can't know for sure what they ate, there were plenty of nutritious nuts and seeds available...at the time." They may also have eaten frogs and lizards, but not humans (or any of our ancient ancestors).

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Giant Millipedes - Level 0  |  Giant Millipedes - Level 1  |   Giant Millipedes - Level 2

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