Paleontologists from National Taiwan University believe that the 6.5-foot-long burrow was once the habitat of a worm-like predator that would have floated from the sea floor to ambush marine creatures and pull them alive to their lair.
Experts working in northeastern Taiwan have reconstructed large L-shaped burrows dating back up to 23 million years from sea floor layers using archaeological excavations — geological features, such as track markings, burrows and plant root hollows in the rocks, that experts use to extract Conclusions about the behavior of ancient creatures.
Using 319 samples, experts reconstruct the fossil of A. Cache — Dubbed The Beautiful Pennichnus! They are 6.5 feet long and about an inch in diameter, and morphological evidence says the tunnels were home to giant marine worms, such as the modern bobbit.
Mainly living in the Pacific Ocean, bobti worms hide in long, narrow burrows on the sea floor and push upwards to grab unwanted fish, large slugs and other worms, before they are pulled, while still alive, into their dens.
They identified a high concentration of iron at the top of the burrow, and believed the worm could secrete mucus to reinforce the burrow wall.
«We hypothesize that about 20 million years ago, on the southeastern frontier of the Eurasian continent, ancient Bobbitt worms colonized the sea floor waiting in ambush for a passing meal,» the report’s authors wrote.
“When the prey approached a worm, it exploded from its burrow, grabbing the prey and dragging it down into the sediments. Below the sea floor, the prey stumbled desperate to flee, causing further turbulence of sediments around the burrow hole,” they described.