Paleontologists discovered a fossil of a woodlouse that is between 242 and 247 million years old in a quarry in Winterswijk. It is the first time that such an old specimen has been discovered in the Netherlands. It is a hitherto unknown woodlouse species.
The animal has been named 'Gelrincola winterswijkensis' by the researchers, Utrecht University announced on Friday. The ancient woodlouse can be seen from 8 June in Naturalis in Leiden.
According to the experts, it is rare that fossil woodlice from the Triassic era is found. Worldwide, only nine species are known to have lived between 200 and 250 million years ago. Just before that period, 90 percent of all life on Earth was destroyed, presumably by a volcanic eruption.
The fossil was found three years ago. However, it was only after extensive research by a team of international experts that it could be established that it was a new, unique item.
The oldest beetle was also found in the quarry
Unique fossils have already been found in the quarry in Winterswijk. The oldest beetle remains in the Netherlands have also been found here. This is because Winterswijk was located on the coast in earlier times. As a result, many fossils of animals that lived in the sea in ancient times were found in the quarry.
Woodlice is one of the most common benthic animals in the Netherlands. What is less known is that half of the specimens live in the sea. The animals are closely related to crabs and lobsters.