Fossil discovered in World War I trenches

BY CLIFF MOONEYHAM | PUBLISHED: 04-05-2017

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planet's oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.

Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planet's oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.

The new 425-million-year-old fossil is giving researchers new ideas about how some of the earliest creatures on our planet came to dominate the world's oceans.
The fossil was discovered in the Austrian Alps, on the border between Italy and Austria known as the Cardiola Formation.

The formation was exposed in trenches dug during World War I.

The fossilized remnants of juvenile crinoids, a distant relative of today's sea lilies, were found encased in iron oxide and limestone by an international research team.

Crinoids were plenty a long time ago when they carpeted the seafloor.

According to William Ausich, professor of earth sciences at The Ohio State University, most stalked crinoid fossils depict spindly, plantlike animals anchored to the sea floor rocks.

Ausich, the co-author of the study in the open-access journal Geological Acta, added that fossils of juvenile crinoids are rare.

"The fossils indicate that they were either attached to objects floating in the water at the time or appended to another bottom dweller that lacked preservable hard parts," Ausich said.

They might have clung to free-floating algae beds or swimming cephalopods, which then carried them far from where they formed as larvae.

Modern sea lilies reproduce ejecting eggs and sperm into the water. However, this discovery suggests that their ancestors sometimes settled on objects that transported far from their origin before they reached reproduction age.

"We now have important information about the behavior of these ancient organisms," Ausich said

 

 

Comments
James Smith - Apr 21, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
Ian Marsh - Apr 19, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
Jose Jefferies - Apr 19, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
Adam Widmer - Apr 18, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
Dirk Trudeau - Apr 17, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
David Sims - Apr 17, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.
Harry Marcolis - Apr 15, 2017
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of one of the planetís oldest creatures, in a World War I trench.