ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Bravest Little Millipede

Updated on February 12, 2018
Fossillady profile image

Kathi writes about fossils and other earthly subjects, plus the natural history of Michigan, poetry and more.

Millipede Trace Fossil

TRACE FOSSIL OF MILLIPEDE TRAIL
TRACE FOSSIL OF MILLIPEDE TRAIL
MILLIPEDE
MILLIPEDE

I'd like to share some amazing Paleozoic creatures with you based on several samples from my fossil collection, but in a nontraditional way; in short story form. As I wrote the story with the purpose to inform and inspire, it evolved into something more meaningful that everyone can determine for themselves. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

The Story

There once was a little millipede who was the bravest of all. He lived during an amazing time period on Earth best known for its explosion of life . . . The Devonian. It was so full of new life, it has been called the Age of Fish, Age of Forests, Age of Vertebrates and Age of Amphibians, to name a few. The story begins, if you can imagine, over 400 million years ago. Nevertheless, there is much we can learn from the bravest little millipede.

One day, the bravest little millipede was fed up with attacks imposed upon him and his species by the many varieties of ancient deep-sea predators sharing his beloved habitat. To you and me, his enemies would be fascinating creatures to simply observe. But because of his meager size, to him, they were beasts. Day after day, the sadness he felt became overwhelming as he observed his millimates being taken down by their foes. Whenever it happened, he was left feeling helpless only able to scamper under the sandy seafloor with the use of his hundred some legs. The most frightening threat came from the clamping claws of the eurypterid sea scorpions. They were the millipedes worst enemy and most ill-tempered. In his mind, it was a cruel twist of nature to be betrayed by a cousin arthropod, creatures like him with segmented bodies and jointed legs.

Sea Scorpions

Credit: Patrick Lynch / Yale University
Credit: Patrick Lynch / Yale University

Even the arthropod trilobites unjustly preyed upon them. Though most were gentle creatures, a few species adapted predator skills, like that of raptor birds obtaining speed and sharp vision. The harmless millipedes were defenseless against those types. All the ancient sea-beings referred to those trilobites as "lens-faces". Their eyes possessed multiple lenses which wrapped around their heads for panoramic vision, even while swimming upside down. If a threatening trilobite spotted an unsuspecting millipede, it seldom had ample time to escape. The millipedes were the simplest seafloor dwellers. They spent much of their day milling around on the seafloor feeding on decayed matter. They were at the bottom of the food chain and rarely a threat to others. Some of the trilobites occupied the same ocean parallel and competed with them for food and territory.

Trilobites

 TRILOBITE FOSSIL "CALYMENE, CELEBRA"
TRILOBITE FOSSIL "CALYMENE, CELEBRA"
TRILOBITE DRAWING "CALYMENE, CELEBRA"
TRILOBITE DRAWING "CALYMENE, CELEBRA"

Yet another more random threat came from the cephalopods. They possessed large powerful tentacles and had the biggest brains of all ocean creatures. First, there were the cephalopod nautiloids such as Orthoceras with their long straight shells. They could crush the hard exoskeleton shells of most other sea creatures and could pluck just about anything into its grip with amazing accuracy. No animal was safe from them so long as it was within their grasp.

Cephalopod Nautiloids "Orthoceras"

Cephalopod Nautiloid Fossil "Orthoceras"
Cephalopod Nautiloid Fossil "Orthoceras"
Cephalopod Nautiloid Drawing of "Orthoceras"
Cephalopod Nautiloid Drawing of "Orthoceras"

Later, their cousin cephalopod ammonites came along. They had adapted a coiled shell and eventually dominated the ancient seas over their straight-shelled relatives. From the little millipede’s perspective, they were all a nasty sort. From a human's perspective, their fossil shells are most intriguing. They possess inner chambers of beautiful patterns and are even worn as jewelry with symbolic meaning.

Cephalopod Ammonites

Cephalopod Ammonite Fossil "Dufrenoy Justinae"
Cephalopod Ammonite Fossil "Dufrenoy Justinae"
Cephalopod Ammonite Drawing "Dufrenoy Justinae"
Cephalopod Ammonite Drawing "Dufrenoy Justinae"

All the bravest little millipede ever wanted to do was to carry out his role in the marine ecosystem alongside with his millimates. They did a good job of keeping the ocean floors clean. With the arrival of more and more newcomer organisms in the ancient ocean, he believed his kind would soon be extinguished unless something changed.

The bravest little millipede had never known of anything else than his marine world filled with other invertebrate creatures which lack a backbone. That was until the day the vertebrates showed up. The vertebrates were swift and agile, but worst of all, they were hungry for millipedes. Arriving first were the ostracoderm fish with sleek, slippery bodies possessing heavy armored plates layered over their upper torsos. The magnificent placoderms evolved thereafter. They wore interesting patterned, armored plates and a wide variation of lavish fins and spikes for added protection. Not only were they a marvel of nature, they were awesome predators as well. Unlike the ostracoderms, they had adapted jawbones and blades for teeth, some reaching impressive sizes. Dunkleoteus was the T-Rex of the Devonian seas. They were an ornery bunch and the top predators with the ability to chomp down on any living creature in their time!

First Fish Ostracoderm and Placoderms

Ostracoderms
Ostracoderms | Source
Dunkleoteus Placoderm
Dunkleoteus Placoderm | Source


The little millipede was beside himself and searched deep inside his soul for a solution to his species' problem. He consulted with his millimates one by one. He arranged for a millisummit meeting of the milliminds. They brainstormed and discussed and debated for hours on end until finally they all agreed on a split decision. The majority of the million millipedes would remain in the ocean trenches and protect one another by using the millibuddy system. That was the beginning of millimarriages. The bravest little millipede was to lead a group out from the ocean waters and become the first creatures to ever explore land. Such a prospect was unheard of, but the bravest little millipede was no ordinary creature. Instinctively, his followers believed in his bravery and intelligence.

The day finally arrived for them to venture out from their beloved water world. The wise little millipede chose a location offshore which curved inland into a cool calm lagoon. It passed beyond the foamy breakwaters of the Rheic Ocean bordering the great continent of Gondwana. The bravest little millipede was the first one to pop out from the water surface and gaze his eyes upon the Devonian landscape. He took in his first breath of air, adapting the use of his special tube openings. The air was untarnished and crisp, with an aroma of prolific leaves mixed with a marvelous scent of decaying organic material. It wet his appetite briefly until his eyes were steered higher and higher along the trunk of an Archeopteris tree. Through the treetop canopy, he witnessed a light more powerful and brighter than he ever knew possible. He was captured momentarily by the shimmering streaks of light filtering through the branches and it gave him a comforting feeling he had chosen the right place to start a new life for him and his millimates.

The bravest little millipede snapped out of his daze and focused on his mission to crawl out of the water and onto the shore. He proceeded to lead the millitroop's first steps onto dry land. To their surprise, the ground was quite moist from the hothouse climate which recycled warm moist air on a continual basis and dripped it back to Earth. None of the millitroops knew quite what to expect from this new habitat. They all scurried into the underbrush for protection; all but the bravest one. He had set his sights up above, fascinated by the giant trees, some of which reached thirty meters into the sky. Archeopteris dominated the forest and provided shade that protected the pioneer millipedes from the heat and intense ultraviolet rays of the sun. Other midsize trees such as Medullosa and Psaronius sealed the shady environment.


Ancient Trees

PECOPTERIS LEAVES OF PSARONIUS TREE
PECOPTERIS LEAVES OF PSARONIUS TREE
PSARONIUS TREE
PSARONIUS TREE
NEUROPTERIS LEAF OF MEDULLOSA TREE
NEUROPTERIS LEAF OF MEDULLOSA TREE
MEDULLOSA TREE
MEDULLOSA TREE

Ancient lycopod trees hovered near water pools. The millipedes had stepped into Earth's first forest thick with frond trees, wispy shrubs, spreading mosses, ferns and spiny herbaceous plants. It provided plenty of decaying nourishment for all the millipedes to eat and eat and eat. The bravest little millipede and his millimates did just that and grew big and strong. The efforts and risks they had taken rewarded them with the happy life they so desperately sought.

Lycopod Scale Trees

Trace Fossil Leaves of Scale Trees
Trace Fossil Leaves of Scale Trees
Lycopod Scale Tree "Lepidodendron" Drawing
Lycopod Scale Tree "Lepidodendron" Drawing
Lycopod Scale Tree "Sigillarias" Drawing
Lycopod Scale Tree "Sigillarias" Drawing

One day, the bravest millipede looked up again at the light shining through the forest trees. His curiosity to know where it came from led him on another exploration. He decided to crawl up the bumpy trunk of an Archeopteris tree to get closer to the light. Inch my inch he crept, gripping the coarse wood with his numerous legs. When he finally reached the top, he never felt so alive. He thought the sky was the color of love while the light source made his heart beat with trepidation. As he looked down and out, the sprawl of the forest canopy mirrored the excitement in his soul. He was glad he made the strenuous crawl up the giant tree and came to understand its lure.

Days past by, weeks and months; life was good for him and his millimates. There was plenty of oxygen in the air, plenty of nourishment on the ground and the absence of predators was the bonus they all had longed for. Everyday of his life he climbed his favorite tree to thank the powers that be. What began as the bravest little millipede’s original thoughts turned into words that transformed into action which ultimately created a new life for him and his kind! Ironically, of all the creatures that threatened his species very existence; his has survived the longest!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Well this must be the best biography of a fossil millipede ever! :) Glad it ended as it did, as the millipede is still here today and all those others who preyed upon it have gone. What's more of course the millipedes had their own spell of greatness - growing to huge size 300 million years ago!

      I am envious of your fossils Kathi, and I am glad to see this story has received the accolades it has from other writers. Best wishes, Alun

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Hello W.R., Thank you for the kind compliment. You're funny!

    • W.R. Shinn profile image

      W.R. Shinn 

      7 years ago

      Awesome! Thanks. Is our world that old? Wow! Sincerely, W.

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Oh thank you, that's a great compliment. I'm thinking about modifying it for a children's book! Bless you

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Kathi,

      I loved this! The combination of the fossils, the drawings, and the engaging story of the struggle for survival was just awesome! I wish I'd had this to read to my daughter when she was younger.

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Hi Jackie, Very nice to meet you! I'm sorry to learn of your brother's death. Wonder whatever happened to his collection? I love that kind of stuff! I'll be seeing you and look forward to reading your hubs! Smiles

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This was great and my oldest brother who passed away years ago that I am now older than, found things like these but he was mostly into the arrowhead and Indian things I have two or three and his were suppose to go to a museum after his death but I heard no more about them, but there was many, he did it for years, and reading your profile it seems we both were looking for escape coming here and found much more. I will be so interested to follow you and see all the wonderful things you have to say.

      Jackie

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Hi Chatkath, My name is Kathi too and when I was a little girl I begged my mother for a Chatty Cathy doll for Christmas and Birthdays, but never got her. Now I make her pay for it, isn't that horrible of me? lol, I see Colin is up to his match making again. Anybody he sends my way I trust has quality, character and, of course, something interesting to share. Nice to meet you. I can't wait to read your hubs too!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 

      7 years ago from California

      I am impressed fossillady! Colin said that I would be! Can't wait to visit the rest of your hubs! Thank you for sharing such awesome stuff.

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      well welcome to the hub sue, thanks for following me, i'll do the same for you and cant's wait to read your articles. thank you for the kind compliment ps thinking of editing millipede story more kid friendly for publishing! wish me luck

    • suegillespie profile image

      suegillespie 

      7 years ago

      OMG.....you are a very talented lady. I am now enthralled with your sites. I am now a follower! (PS. I am ALSO a teacher....new at "hubbing".....still learning.)

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      nicomp, Good question, many animals have adaptive gills for breathing in and out of water, the horseshoe crab is one example. Thanks for stopping by!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      How did the little guy go from breathing water to breathing air?

      This is a tiny point, but I do want to make it: adding the penny to the fossil photos is a great touch. The scale of fossils is often very difficult to grasp. Thanks for that!

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Yes, the fossil history sometimes drives my spirit into action! Glad we share an interest!

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Fascinating hub! Fossil history is fascinating. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Thank you Damian and Vanocouver Gal! It was my pleasure!

    • profile image

      damian0000 

      7 years ago

      Wow!!

      What a really beautifl hub!

      If only there were more teachers like you --- there is a lot of love in this work and it is written in such an engaging but still informative way, i loved the pictures as well --- excellent work Fossillady :-)

    • VancouverGal profile image

      VancouverGal 

      7 years ago from Canada

      This hub is such a delight!

    • Fossillady profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      What can one say but that I am humbled by your top ten list! Oh, I know, I love you for that!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      7 years ago

      ...a hub subject like this deserves a famous epigramman top ten

      TOP TEN WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR HUB ON THE BRAVE LITTLE MILLIPEDE

      10. impressive

      9. novel

      8. ingenious

      7. original

      6. whimsical

      5. enthralling

      4. could delight the child in all of us

      3. but also educate the adult mind too

      2. this could be the basis for a children's book

      1. unique translation of a subject perhaps not known by too many people - and that makes you a creative anomaly!!!!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)