On the News @ EurekAlert!
Rock exposed in World War I trenches offers new fossil find
“An unusual fossil find is giving scientists new ideas about how some of the earliest animals on Earth came to dominate the world’s oceans.
An international research team found 425-million-year-old fossilized remnants of juvenile crinoids, a distant ancestor of today’s sea lilies, encased in iron oxide and limestone in the Austrian Alps.
Researchers collected the rock from a formation on the border between Italy and Austria known as the Cardiola Formation, which was exposed in trenches dug during World War I.
Crinoids were abundant long ago, when they carpeted the sea floor. Most stalked crinoid fossils depict spindly, plantlike animals anchored to sea floor rocks, explained William Ausich, professor of earth sciences at The Ohio State University and co-author of the study in the open-access journal Geologica Acta.
Fossils of juvenile crinoids are rare, he said.
Rarer still is that these newly uncovered crinoids weren’t attached to rocks when they died. Whatever they were attached to during their young lives didn’t survive fossilization.” (…) READ MORE
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