Land Animals in the Silurian: Arachnids and Myriapods from Shropshire, England

Science  02 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4981, pp. 658-661
DOI: 10.1126/science.250.4981.658


A new assemblage of arthropod cuticles from Upper Silurian rocks in Shropshire, England, includes at least two centipedes and a trigonotarbid arachnid. This unequivocal terrestrial fauna from the Silurian constitutes the earliest direct record of land animals. The presence of predatory arthropods suggests that complex terrestrial ecosystems were in place by the late Silurian (414 x 106 years before present) and that the animal invasion of the land occurred earlier than was previously thought.