February 29, 2024

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They found a site containing thousands of fossils from 470 million years ago

They found a site containing thousands of fossils from 470 million years ago

Pictures taken of more than 400 fossils found in Montaigne Noire.

Photo: Farid Saleh et al

Paleontologists have discovered an important preservation site containing more than 400 fossils. This is Montaigne Noire, a mountainous region in southwestern France, where researchers from the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Lausanne (UNIL) came to publish their discovery in the prestigious journal Nature ecology and evolution.

More specifically, scientists have found fossils of animals and plants such as jellyfish, millipedes, coral, and shrimp. In fact, Farid Saleh, the lead researcher, said that what most attracted attention about this discovery was the good state of preservation of the samples that were found, especially the digestive system of the animals.

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According to their calculations, the fossils have been there since the Early Ordovician period, 470 million years ago, when Montaigne Noire was a purely marine environment located in the southern hemisphere of the supercontinent Gondwana, which collided 270 million years ago.

For now, scientists have named the site Cabrières Biota, whose condition, according to Saleh, suggests that animal and plant fossils found there may have used it as a refuge to escape extreme tropical temperatures.

Regarding a description of what was found, the researchers noted that “fossils from the Cabrières Biota typically show shades of brown, red or orange and are embedded within a matrix that can vary in color from blue to green and yellow.” They found two different types: those that maintain a constant structure, and those that are a little more decomposed. What unites them, as stated in the article, is the long periods of decomposition to which they were subjected.

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This discovery was also accompanied by amateur paleontologists, and is expected to be made possible by this first study published in 2016. Nature ecology and evolution Many others appear to analyze the richness of existing fossils. “This is a very important door to looking at the evolution of the planet in the past,” Eric Monserret, one of the authors of the paper, told Eureka.org.

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