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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Millipede Evolution

Millipede Evolution

Millipedes live in habitats such as moist forest floors where fossilization is very difficult. As a result, the fossil record for these animals is very sparse, and not much is known of their early history.

Some fossil burrows from the Ordovician, about 400 million years ago, may have been made by millipedelike creatures. The oldest definite fossil millipedes, known as Kampecaris tuberculata, have been found in Scotland, dating back to the upper Silurian period. Some excellent fossil millipedes have been found in Illinois, dating back to the Pennsylvanian period. One of these, Euphoberia, measured almost a foot in length. Today, there are around 7,000 species of millipedes that have been named by scientists, and it has been estimated that there are probably ten times that number that have not yet been scientifically described.

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