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A new Upper Carboniferous whip scorpion (Arachnida: Uropygi: Thelyphonida) with a revision of the British Carboniferous Uropygi



Jason A. Dunlop & Carl A. Horrocks
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK


A new fossil whip scorpion (Arachnida: Uropygi: Thelyphonida) is described from the Upper Carboniferous (Westphalian A) of the Bickershaw colliery complex, Lancashire, UK. This specimen is referred to the species Geralinura britannica (Pocock, 1911) and Geralinura is rediagnosed as Carboniferous Thelyphonida with eyes. The British Carboniferous Thelyphonida are revised. Geralinura is tentatively referred to the family Thelyphonidae. Two of the British specimens have an anteriorly pointed carapace lacking median eyes and are placed in Proschizomus gen. nov. diagnosed as Uropygi lacking median eyes. These specimens are described as Proschizomus petrunkevitchi gen et. sp. nov. In lacking eyes, Proschizomus resembles the order Schizomida and is tentatively proposed as a sister group of schizomids. It is conceivable that schizomids could have evolved from miniturised versions of a Proschizomus like ancestor. P. petrunkevitchi does not have a divided carapace (the diagnostic feature of Schizomida) and technically should therefore remain classified under Thelyphonida. However this interpretation makes "Thelyphonida" paraphyletic and a revision of all Uropygi (i.e. Thelyphonida and Schizomida), is warranted.

Zoologischer Anzeiger, 234, 293-306 (1996)

Author's comments:

Bill Shear subsequently pointed out that the Proschizomus pedipalps are orientated in a vertical plane like in schizomids, not a horizontal one like in thelyphonids. I think this strengthens our case for saying we have a sister group of Schizomida here.
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