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A must agree with Phil's answer to Stu's question about subaerial
activity in eurypterids. Merostomates seem to be well suited for
or perhaps preadapted for subaerial activity. Dan Fisher has an
incredibly detailed and elegant paper on subaerial activity in the
Pennsylvanian horseshoe crab Euproops that is a model (along with
a couple of other horseshoe crab functional papers) of how functional
morphology should be done and the strength of the functional approach.
The subaerial paper is in the Nitecki volume on Mazon Creek with other
papers on swimming in Mesolimulus published in the Fossils and Strata
volume on Fossil arthropods (#4) and a later Paleobiology paper,
again on Euproops and using different models of Euproops with differing
telson lengths to show why Euproops looked the way it did - amazing.
I'm less sure about the size constraint Phil mentions but it does not
seem unreasonable. Are we sure the tracks are subaerial when made? There
are mechanisms for generating neat footprints - such as the Cococonino
(however you spell it) stuff from the Grand Canyon - under some amounts
Speaking of big arthropods, I once saw the articulatory appendage of the
main arm of a pterogotid eurypterid that was somewhere between 8 inches and
a foot long. That would translate into something like a 10' beast.
Anyway, some thoughts. Back to dinos and trilobites,
Ralph Chapman, NMNH