SA scientists discover fossil, new species

By AAP Newswire

Adelaide scientists have identified a new species of extinct sea creature after 500 million-year-old fossils were found on Kangaroo Island.

The large trilobites are related to modern crustaceans and insects and grow to about 30 centimetres in length.

James Holmes, PhD student at the University of Adelaide, said researchers named the new species Redlichia rex, similar to Tyrannosaurus rex, because of its large size.

"(Also for) its formidable legs with spines used for crushing and shredding food, which may have been other trilobites," he said.

Mr Holmes said the fossil illustrated an evolutionary battle happening between predators and prey, with both developing more effective measures of defence.

"The overall size and crushing legs of Redlichia rex are a likely consequence of the arms race that occurred at this time," he said.

"This giant trilobite was likely the terror of smaller creatures on the sea floor."

The specimen is currently on display at the South Australian Museum.