MURCIA – Collaborating researchers from various universities and institutions have made a remarkable discovery in the Murcia region.
They found the fossil print of a giant ‘cockroach’, which must have been around one metre long. This unusual fossil was found in the mountain area of La Sierra de las Cabras in Jumilla, Murcia. It is so unique that it cannot be identified with any known arthropod species. That is why it is named after Aenigmatipocus jumillensis.
The find, published in the Journal of Iberian Geology, is the result of collaboration between researchers from several universities and institutions, including the University of Huelva, the Museo de Etnografía y Ciencias de la Naturaleza de Jumilla, the Universidad Complutense and the Universidad de La Rioja. The researchers worked together to discover, clean the site, and study the age of the sites, the environment in which the sediments were formed, and biological studies.
The structure of the fossil print offers fascinating insights. The print similar to a cockroach consists of groups of three parallel and alternating prints or triads. Each print shows a depression with a central body three times longer than it is wide, with straight or slightly curved walls. These features suggest that the animal may have had six legs, three of which touched the ground, indicating a blatodeo (cockroach) about one metre long. It appears the animal was dragged while overturned by a current in a shallow swampy environment.
Exact identification remains a mystery
According to the researchers, this discovery offers a rare glimpse into ancient animal life and ecology of the Murcia region. It also raises questions about the size and behavior of the prehistoric fauna that lived in this area. Despite the extensive analysis, the exact identification of this arthropod, Aenigmatipocus jumillensis, remains a mystery. The researchers continue to search for additional data that can shed more light on this fascinating creature and its role in the late Miocene ecosystem.
The Sierra de las Cabras in Jumilla
The Sierra de las Cabras in Jumilla, Murcia, is a unique and important paleontological site. Together with the Hoya de la Sima, it forms one of the most interesting paleontological complexes in the Iberian Peninsula. And, according to recent studies, it is more than seven million years old. This is older than originally thought; an age of five million years was assumed. This new dating places the site in a period of great geological activity, during the transition between the Tortonian and Messinian geological periods.