Navigation Links
Deep heat solution to 500-million year mystery
Date:11/12/2008

Scientists from the universities of Leicester and Cambridge and from the British Geological Survey have published new research in the journal Geology this month (November) shedding new light on a 500-million year old mystery.

The 500 million year-old fossils of the Burgess Shale in Canada, discovered over a century ago, still provide one of the most remarkable insights into the dawn of animal life. The beautiful silvery fossils show the true nature of the life of that time, just after the "Cambrian explosion" of animal life.

Yet, their existence is a paradox: the fossils have been buried deep in the Earth's crust and heated to over 300oC (~600 oF), before being thrust up by tectonic forces to form a mountainous ridge in the Rockies. Usually such extreme conditions are thought to destroy fossils. But, in the Burgess Shale the most exquisite detail of soft tissues has been preserved.

Now, by careful restudy of its fossils (published in the November issue of the journal Geology) Alex Page and his colleagues Phil Wilby, Sarah Gabbott and Jan Zalasiewicz, of the universities of Cambridge and Leicester and the British Geological Survey, have solved this riddle.

They have shown that as the delicate organic tissues of these fossils were heated deep within the Earth, they became the site for mineral formation. The new minerals, forged at these tremendous depths, picked out intricate details such as gills, guts and even eyes.

Alex Page said: "This provides a whole new theory for how fossils form. The deep heating may not have cremated them, but it certainly left them stone baked"

Once an ancient sea bed, the Burgess shale were formed shortly after life suddenly became more complex and diverse the so-called Cambrian explosion and are of immense scientific interest.

Normally, only hard parts of ancient animals became fossilised; the bones, teeth or shells. Soft parts were rarely preserved: many plants and invertebrate animals evolved, lived for millions of years and became extinct, but left no trace in the fossil record. The Burgess Shales preserved soft tissue in exquisite detail, and the question of how this came to happen has troubled scientists since the discovery of the fossils in 1909.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alex Page
aap30@esc.cam.ac.uk
44-012-233-33452
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. L-1 Identity Solutions Selected by the State of New York as the Winning Bidder to Provide Enrollment Services for a Contract Estimated at Up to $250 Million
2. New study shows drinking your vegetables may be a solution to bridging the vegetable gap
3. OrbitalPay, LLC Implements Zecures Acquirer SAFE Solution to Stop Fraudulent E-Commerce Merchants
4. BIO-key(R) Granted Additional Patent for Biometric Security Solution
5. Atomic-resolution views suggest function of enzyme that regulates light-detecting signals in eye
6. Sig-Tec(R) and BIO-key(R) Deliver Advanced Biometric Security Solution to Ohio County Law Enforcement Agency
7. New center will focus environmental debate and produce solutions for action
8. bioMETRX, Inc. Signs Deal To Acquire Controlling Interest in Biometric Solutions, LLC
9. Dont blame cities for climate change, see them as solutions
10. L-1 Identity Solutions Awarded New Massachusetts RMV Drivers License Contract Valued at an Estimated $32 Million
11. L-1 Identity Solutions Receives $5.9 Million Drivers License Contract Expansion from the State of Mississippi
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and ... and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial ... and others), by end use industry (government and law ... financial and banking, and others), and by region ( ... , Asia Pacific , and the ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been ... (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on the ... In addition, CHS previously earned a place in ... electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS Analytics ... EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This recognition ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 ... Continue Reading ... ...      ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates ... will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 ... in the residential home security market and how smart safety and security ... Parks Associates: ... "The residential security ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is pleased to ... who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. Each award ... conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February 26-March 1, ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its ... Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has ... was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical ... broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage ...
Breaking Biology Technology: