New discovery announced of species from 425 million years ago

Posted by pt91 at Dec 12, 2012 10:10 AM |
Exceptionally well-preserved fossil discovered by team led by University of Leicester geologist
New discovery announced of species from 425 million years ago

Credit: David Siveter and co-authors (Derek Briggs, Derek Siveter, Mark Sutton, Sarah Joomun)

Emeritus Professor David Siveter from our Department of Geology led a team of scientists from the universities of Oxford, Imperial and Yale who discovered a new and scientifically important fossil species of ostracod related to crabs, lobsters and shrimps.

The discovered species, which is up to 10 millimetres long, is special because it is exceptionally well preserved, complete with not only the shell but also the soft parts – its body, limbs, eyes, gills and alimentary system. Such discoveries are extremely rare in the fossil record.

The discovery of the tiny shelled arthropod was made in 425 million year old rocks in Herefordshire, Welsh Borderland. The rocks at the site date to the Silurian period of geological time, when southern Britain was a sea area on a small continent situated in warm, southerly subtropical latitudes. The ostracods and associated marine animals living there were covered by a fall of volcanic ash that preserved them frozen in time.

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

· Press release

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