back to article Palaeoboffins discover 500 MILLION year old ARMOURED WORM

A worm which walked on legs and was adorned with vicious spikes is likely to have been one of the first animals on Earth to have donned armour for its own protection, say palaeoboffins who have identified the wee beastie. The "super-armoured" worm, a previously unknown species from 500 million years ago, ate by filtering …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "no living direct ancestors"

    Given that they themselves lived so long ago it would be a bit surprising if there ancestors were still alive.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. spinynorman

        You called?

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      and they probably should have qualified it further with "that we know of." There's still fascinating discoveries going on deep down in the oceans and not all has been discovered yet.

    3. Bleu

      You do realise that using 'there' for 'their'

      makes you look like the sub-literate fool that you appear to be?

  2. Mike Moyle Silver badge




  3. James O'Shea Silver badge

    I expected

    a story about an elderly Tory MP. Let's see...

    1 spineless... check

    2 scarfs everything that comes into range... check

    3 excellent defences and so resistant to most ordinary methods of persuasion... check

    My apologies, it's not a mere MP, it's a full-on Minister of Government.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I expected

      Or a member of the shadow cabinet ....

      Or a member of the Lib Dems ....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I expected

      I think "a worm that walked on legs and had vicious spikes" might adequately describe Geoffrey (Lord) Howe, who while appearing to be a worm during the Thatcher years eventually stood up and spiked her to such effect that she went three weeks later.

      (Howe made some mistakes but compared to most of the present lot he was pretty good.)

    3. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: I expected

      They used to have armour, now they have Lawyers, that is: they are too poor to afford the armour they so desperately need.

      How far Modern Worms have risen!

    4. boltar Silver badge

      Re: I expected

      "1 spineless... check"

      Wrong party, for weak and spineless you want to look in


      that direction. (To the left).

  4. ZenCoder

    Worms's snappy comeback.

    "Modern velvet worms are all pretty similar in terms of their general body organisation and not that exciting in terms of their lifestyle," said Dr Javier Ortega-Hernández to which the worms replied "Bitch please. You might have a pretty face, but you will have to put a bag over that personality!"

  5. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Did I tell you ...

    ... about the fish I caught with one of these? It was THIS BIG!

  6. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Hairy Collins Monster

    Any relation to Barnabas Collins?

  7. Youngone Silver badge

    Ediacara biota?

    I had hoped for a mention of the Ediacara biota which was around at about this time.

    There's lots of information in the usual place for those who are interested:

    Obviously not much is known about these plants or animals, or whatever the hell they were, but they're really fascinating.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ediacara biota?

      True! Actually, this thing quite resembles Hallucigenia, a Burgess Shale fossil from the same period.

  8. Ilmarinen

    How BIG ???

    Was this a MONSTER armour plated worm covered with flesh tearing spikes?

    Or just a weenie little wormlett made remarkable only by a thin cuticle and no more prickley hairs than a woolly bear caterpillar???

    And could it have jumped as high as a man's throat, or eaten human babies (had it not become extinct) ?

    Enquiring minds want to know !

    1. MondoMan

      Re: How BIG ???

      Surely we should also have been informed about whether or not those spikes carried lasers of death?

  9. jake Silver badge

    Hairy Collins Monster ?

    I must invent a new fly for salmon! :-)

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Hairy Collins Monster ?

      "I must invent a new fly for salmon! :-)"

      Cut the euphemisms and call it by it's proper name: "A morningstar for salmon!


      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Hairy Collins Monster ?

        "A morningstar for salmon!"

        No. Brute force on fish is contra-indicated. If you don't believe me, vacation in a location that allows fishing with dynamite. I'm talking building on a 14/0 hook & finessing the fish.

        Try to remember, I'm in Northern California. Salmon here regularly grow large enough to feed over 20 people[0]. They aren't little brook trout.

        [0] 20 people X 6oz fish == 7.5 pounds of meat. So well under a 15 pound fish.

  10. Martin Budden

    not a worm

    Every 3-year-old knows that worms don't have legs!

  11. fearnothing

    If they were from 500 million years ago, they are not "nearly as distant" from the dinosaurs as the dinosaurs are from us, they are far more distant. Not only that, they're more distant from the dinosaurs than the most distant dinosaurs are from us.

    Most recent dinosaurs: 65mya.

    Most distant dinosaurs from us: 234-234mya

    Distance between these and earliest dinosaurs: at least 266 million years.

    Maths editor asleep tonight?

    1. Nigel 11


      Millions of years isn't really the right measure of distance. Some organisms haven't changed a lot since well before the dinosaurs (sharks, for example). There are "living fossils" that are still extant, but most closely connected to larger groupings mostly long-extinct (the pearly nautilus is an example).

      And then there are the Archaea, single-celled organisms with biochemistries far more different from today's main groups than the difference between a man and a cabbage.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Distance

        " ...than the difference between a man and a cabbage."

        I know some human individuals that wouldn't pass a hypothetical "Turing-Style Cabbageness Test", let alone a full Turing Test!!!

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: Distance

          An example of Turing-Style Cabageness Test (TSCT for short):

          Q: Can you perform photosynthesis?

          A: Hmmm... yes!

          Q: Do you belong to the Brassica genus?

          A: ... yes?

          Q: Do you possess thick edible roots?

          A: ... ... yes?

          *** WRONG ANSWER!!! - WRONG ANSWER!!! - YOU'RE A TURNIP!!! ***

          We could call it the Sauerkraut-Kampf Test.

          1. launcap Silver badge

            Re: Distance

            > Q: Do you possess thick edible roots?

            > A: ... ... yes?

            >*** WRONG ANSWER!!! - WRONG ANSWER!!! - YOU'RE A TURNIP!!! ***

            Point of order - turnip and edible are not to be used in relation to each other without a negative.

            Turnips are what you feed to food.

  12. Killing Time

    Shai-Hulud ?

    Shai-Hulud and water? nooo.... I don't think so

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019