Bring up the subject of dinosaurs to kids, and they seem to get excited. I never quite understood that. Nothing against dinosaurs, but when I was a kid, I had no interest in anything else associated with these creatures of the Triassic Period, which, by the way, began about 230 million years ago.

It is interesting to note that dinosaurs roamed the planet for about 165 million years according to the United States Geological Survey website, also noting that the earth's "continents were arranged together as a single supercontinent called Pangea.

During the 165 million years of dinosaur existence, this supercontinent slowly broke apart. Its pieces then spread across the globe into a nearly modern arrangement by a process called plate tectonics."

But, as old as the dinosaurs were roaming the planet, there are marine animals that have been around well before the dinosaurs. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation notes that horseshoe crabs have Dinos beat.

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They are considered living fossils and have been on earth for over 400 million years. That's a long time! The NYS DEC adds that horseshoe crabs haven't changed much over those hundreds of millions of years and that there are four species of these crabs.

But, only one of those species can be found in New York State and every other state on the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico. It's the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (makes sense) and the NYS DEC says they come ashore during May and June to lay eggs.

The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab is harmless, and their tail isn't a stinging weapon. The NYS DEC notes that it is used to flip itself over when it gets stuck on its back!

That being said, if you see a horseshoe crab flipped upside down during your walk on a beach, it's okay to help them out. The NYS DEC says to use both hands to lift the crab by its carapace and gently flip over, being careful of any spines.

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Favorite Local Landmark

Gallery Credit: Don Morgan

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Gallery Credit: Google Maps Street View

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