APRIL 2009
Specimen of the Month
Samuel J. Ciurca, Jr., Rochester, New York          by Eurypterids.net
Prehistoric Beast
Found in Lake Ontario
PaleoResearch News - Rochester, New York
While casually walking the shoreline at Durand Eastman Beach in upstate New York, a tourist got the surprise of his
life. Joseph B. came to Rochester from New Haven, Connecticut to visit some friends at a local college. His friends
suggested he go to the beach to look for clam shells to support his research back in Connecticut. "Joby" as he is
called by his friends said he saw something floating out in the lake, legs up, and waded out to see what it was. He
further said, and these are his words, "I spotted what looked like some strange animal, legs limp and making a weasing
sound. I pulled the creature out of the lake waters only to have it die in my arms. It looked like a creature from some
horror film or from another planet - but it was here and I had to find out what I had found.
Google! to the rescue.
He continued, "There were many (Google) pages about an animal called a pterygotid or 'sea scorpion' with two large
eyes and formidable pincers in front ready to grab at anything it liked." However, sea scorpions went extinct many
millions of years ago and the little monster that Joby showed PaleoResearch somehow survived into the Present. I told
him that it couldn't have survived in Lake Ontario for several reasons so it must have come from somewhere else and
floated to the shore. Likely, some large cargo ship had dragged it from the ocean, up the St. Lawrence River and into
Lake Ontario. Likely, the animal lived in salt water and could not survive in the lake. That it was still (barely) breathing
at all is amazing. I asked Joby what he intended to do with the animal. He shrugged and said he was going to have it
mounted and display it with his huge clam shell collection in Retsof where he lives with his parents when not in college.
I said it was a rare find and that he should take it on tour, even the late night shows. He calmly said, "I really don't wish
to sensationalize it - all the publicity and whatnot." So thanks, Joby, for sharing your exclusive story with
PaleoResearch. You can count on us to keep your identity secure and good luck with your clam research in
ADDED NOTES: Joby did manage to collect over 100 clam shells at the park and noted the many exotic Zebra Mussels
(an invasive species) that had been introduced into the lake, attached to vessels coming in from the ocean. Of course,
finding a prehistoric creature in the lake gives new meaning to "invasive species." Joby allowed PaleoResearch to
photograph the mounted animal - see below. He wondered what he would have done if he had to mount a 10 foot
creature as it is known that 400 million years ago, the pterygotids attained that enormous size. They were the 'sharks'
of the Silurian waters - sort of at the top of the food chain......
Exclusive Photo
PaleoResearch News
A well-known taxidermist in Honeoye
Falls prepared the sea scorpion for
mounting - it will be hanging on a wall
for many years to come. The eyes
preserved the original compound
elements and several scientists are
eager to study the visual range of
sight and the nature of the receptors.
Such studies have already been
accom- plished with trilobites and
other fossil specimens.
Note: The animal has been coated
with a new polypropylene material that
is supposed to last a hundred years.
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