Fossils of Giant “Terror Beasts” Worms Unearthed

Scientists have discovered fossils belonging to a previously unknown group of ancient aquatic predators near Greenland. Named “Timorebestia” or “terror beasts”, these large worm-like creatures may have been apex predators more than 518 million years ago.

Key Details About the Fossils

The Timorebestia fossils were found at the renowned Early Cambrian fossil site of Sirius Passet in North Greenland. They reveal 30 cm long creatures with fins, antennae-bearing distinct heads, and formidable jaw structures suited for hunting.

Key Details About the Sirius Passet

  • Sirius Passet is a fossil-rich Cambrian site located in North Greenland. It was discovered in 1984 and named after a Greenland sledge patrol operating in the region.
  • Sirius Passet comprises six locations on the eastern shore of J.P. Koch Fjord in northern Greenland. It is part of the Buen geological Formation known for exceptional preservation of fossils.
  • Expeditions since 1987 have amassed around 10,000 ancient fossil specimens from the site.
  • Sirius Passet dates back to over 500 million years ago during the Cambrian period.
  • The site has yielded a wealth of well-preserved animal and plant fossils from early complex marine life. It provides insights into anatomical details of early organisms and the evolution of species.

Significance of the Discovery

Researchers say Timorebestia were giants in the Early Cambrian era and likely near the top of the complex marine food chains back then. Their huge size compared to tiny modern arrow worms highlights the evolutionary significance.

Glimpses of Their Diet

The fossils contain remnants of a swimming arthropod called Isoxys which had protective spines. Apparently the spines couldn’t save them from becoming staple prey for the voracious Timorebestia worms.

Importance for Understanding Evolution

The exceptionally well-preserved specimens provide insights into the anatomy and nervous systems of these ancient organisms. They represent an important transitional form elucidating the evolutionary connections between giant Cambrian predators and tiny modern arrow worms.



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