Did you know there is an Oklahoma state fossil? Apparently in 2000, the state Legislature crowned Saurophaganax maximus " the "greatest predator of earth's history" " as our honorary archaic emblem. Was this measure swiftly followed by a resolution decrying Darwin Week at the University of Oklahoma?
Well Max, your time in the limelight might be coming to an end.
At a mere 375 million years old, a 3-inch fossilized shrimp discovered in a quarry near Ada could be the oldest fossilized decapod in the world.
"The specimen was in a shale quarry lying on the surface just waiting for someone to collect it," paleontologist Royal Mapes told kentwired.com.
Mapes forwarded the fossil on to his colleagues, professors Rodney Feldman and Carrie Schweitzer at Kent State University, where they carefully studied the fossil and will report on it in the Journal of Crustacean Biology.
Back when Oklahoma and much of North America was underwater, our little Aciculopoda mapesi, named after Mapes, was perfectly preserved at the bottom of the ocean.
"When the animal died, it came to rest on the seafloor," Feldman said, according to Kent State. "The muscles then were preserved by a combination of acidic waters and a low oxygen content as the animal was buried rapidly."