- Pneumodesmus newmani
- 428,000,000 year(s)
- United Kingdom (Cowie)
The fossil of a 1-cm-long (0.39 in) centipede found near Stonehaven, Scotland, UK, by bus driver and amateur palaeontologist Mike Newman (UK) is thought to be 428 million years old and the earliest evidence of a creature living on land rather than in the sea. Formally named Pneumodesmus newmani in 2004, the anthropod had spiracles - primitive air-breathing structures on the outside of its body - making it the oldest air-breathing creature yet to be discovered. Newman made his find on the foreshore of Cowie Harbour in 2004 and placed the specimen in the charge of the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Pneumodesmus newmani would have been remarkably similar to today's millipedes. "These things are living fossils," said Dr Lyall Anderson, curator of invertebrate palaeontology at Scotland's National Museums. "Their morphology, shape and function really hasn't changed very much in all that 420 million years.