Scotland: giant centipede, crocodile, and other fossils brought back to life


From The Scotsman:

The Scotland time forgot


IT LEFT tracks now 300 million years old on Arran, it was the largest known invertebrate ever to roam the land, and it gives adventurous TV zoologist Nigel Marven a few bad moments when he visits the Scotland that time forgot in ITV’s new nature spectacular, Prehistoric Park.

Growing up to 10ft long, Arthropleura was a giant arthropod, somewhere between a millipede and a centipede which, during the Carboniferous Age, roamed the steaming forests of what is now central Scotland, the fallen remains of which would fossilise to provide, hundreds of millions of years later, our coal seams and our car fuel.

This ultimate creepy-crawly will be brought back to life in the new £6 million prime-time series, in which Marven takes a safari back through time to rescue prehistoric species from extinction and bring ’em back alive to stock a virtual Jurassic Park-style game reserve.

On screen at least, Marven ventures into Carboniferous Scotland to find and catch our long-lost Arthropleura.

“We filmed it in Florida but it’s based on fossils from Scotland,” he explains.

“If you go to the east coast of Arran and walk the rocks there, you find the tracks left by Arthropleura, where it walked across mud all these millions of years ago, and left these amazing trackways [which became fossilised] in the rock.”

In Prehistoric Park, Marven and his crew encounter spectacular beasts such as woolly mammoths, a 50ft Cretaceous crocodile and, of course, everyone’s favourite prehistoric nightmare, Tyrannosaurus rex.

He also features some smaller, less iconic, often bizarre creatures.

During his “visit” to Coal Age Scotland – courtesy of multimillion pound special effects by the same team who created the creatures in BBC’s ground-breaking Walking With Dinosaurs – he also meets Crassigyrinus scoticus – an early, fish-like predatory amphibian, known through fossil skulls found in Edinburgh and Cowdenbeath.

Scotland: Rhynie fossils.

Isle of Wight: video of dinosaur museum.


25 thoughts on “Scotland: giant centipede, crocodile, and other fossils brought back to life

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