Many eurypterids were fearsome predators of their environment. Some of them were armed with a spiked tail, while a few developed claws for grasping. One fossil discovered near Lesmahagow, Scotland gives researcher an insight into how they could have used their tail.
This fossil dates back to around 430 million years ago. It shows the tail of the eurypterid Slimonia acuminata curved in such a way that the tip, known as the telson, is parallel to its body. In life, this telson could have reached as far as, or even farther than the animal’s mouth. According to researcher Scott Persons, it implies that eurypterids might have stabbed their prey to death while grappling it with its front limbs.
Slimonia’s telson also came equipped with serrated edges. Such anatomy would allow them to tackle larger prey, which they could slash and hack until it turned into bite-sized chunks.