After last week’s perusal of 4-winged dinosaurs, my labmates and I got into a bit of a competition to find the most outlandish prehistoric animal, which led us to meter-long millipedes, 2-foot mayflies, and something called Hallucigenia. What most captured our attention was that arthropods in the Carboniferous period were terrifyingly enormous. 50lb scorpions? GAAAAHH!!
But then we realized the Carboniferous (about 350-300 million years ago) was the same period that gave us 50-foot horsetails and house-sized ferns, and we paused long enough to ask ourselves: “Wait, hang on. Why was EVERYTHING so darned big back then?” Continue reading