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Scientists discover prehistoric worms at Devon Geopark

Source: Published:Mar 19,2009

Scientists may have discovered evidence of giant prehistoric worms at a beach in the south of England.

Geologists believe they have found casts of the giant worms that could have lived 260 million years ago. The discovery was made on a beach near Torbay, Devon.

Dr Kevin Page of Plymouth University found the casts while surveying the beach area, and says that the worms could have been 3ft (90cm) long and 6in (15cm) wide.

Experts from the park found large burrow holes that they claim were made by the creatures as they travelled beneath the surface of the ground.

Mr Page told the BBC: "I just couldn't believe my eyes. They are not in the books. They are new... I am very excited, needless to say."

The worms were found at the English Riviera Geopark in South West England, which is one of only 57 sites around the world that works to protect geo-diversity and geological heritage.

Mr Page was scouring the beach for Unesco, the environmental arm of the UN, when he stumbled upon mysterious markings that appeared to show a giant worm.

Mr Page, who is the chairman of the Devon Regionally Important Geological Sites Group, added: "It's extraordinary. We are looking at an entirely new life form... They seem to be some sort of worm.

"These have never been seen before, so we have some of the last vestiges of a different world preserved in the rock."

One beach regular said: "I shall watch that cliff with renewed interest when I come down to sunbathe and sketch in the summer."