Temporal range: Late Silurian/Early Devonian
|Reconstruction of Pneumodesmus newmani|
Wilson & Anderson, 2004 
Pneumodesmus newmani is a species of millipede that lived in the Paleozoic era. Its exact age is uncertain. 428 million years ago in the late Silurian was first suggested. A later study suggested the early Devonian.
Discovery and naming[change | change source]
The fossil of P. newmani was found by Mike Newman. He is a bus driver and amateur palaeontologist from Aberdeen. The fossil was in a layer of sandstone rocks on the foreshore of Cowie, near Stonehaven. The species was later called "newmani" in honour of its finder. The fossil is kept in National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Description[change | change source]
Its cuticle has what look like openings or spiracles. These are part of a gas exchange system that would work in air. So P. newmani is thought to be the earliest documented arthropod with a tracheal system, and the first known oxygen-breathing animal on land.
References[change | change source]
- Heather M. Wilson & Lyall I. Anderson (2004). "Morphology and taxonomy of Paleozoic millipedes (Diplopoda: Chilognatha: Archipolypoda) from Scotland". Journal of Paleontology 78 (1): 169–184. doi:10.1666/0022-3360(2004)078<0169:MATOPM>2.0.CO;2. http://jpaleontol.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/1/169.
- "Fossil find 'oldest land animal'". BBC News. 2004.
- Suarez, Stephanie E. et al (2017). "A U-Pb zircon age constraint on the oldest-recorded air-breathing land animal". PLoS ONE 12 (6): e0179262. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0179262.
- "Fossil millipede found to be oldest land creature". CNN (from Reuters). 2004.
- "Pneumodesmus newmani Exhibition". Stonehaven Guide.
- Selden, Paul & Read, Helen (2008). "The oldest land animals: Silurian millipedes from Scotland". Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group 23: 36–37. http://www.paulselden.net/uploads/7/5/3/2/7532217/seldenread2008.pdf.