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:6/20/2016)... DALLAS , June 20, 2016 ... criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, ... by the prisons involved, it has secured the ... Corrections (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) ... (4) additional facilities to be installed by October, ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
(Date:6/2/2016)...   The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... capability in which consumers will be able to interact with ... via voice or text and receive relevant information about the ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can create ... relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Portage Biotech Inc. ("Portage" or ... is excited to announce the formation of EyGen, ... preclinical ophthalmology assets through proof of concept. EyGen,s ... by Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited and being developed for ... and anterior segment diseases. This agent has the ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health Inc ., the leading supplier ... one of the top 100 companies in the 2016 ... distinguishes the top digital health companies across the globe. ... this year continually upgrading our product with the ongoing ... team," says Len Grenier , CEO of Equicare ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... November 2016   Merck , ein ... Unterzeichnung einer Reihe von Vereinbarungen mit Evotec ... AG Screeningleistungen für Mercks Palette genetischer Reagenzien ... auf diese Bibliotheken in Kombination mit Evotecs ... Weg zur Ermittlung und Erforschung neuer Arzneimitteltargets.    ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , ... November 30, 2016 , ... SSCI, the established ... discuss the implications of the latest FDA guidance on pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug ... in Cambridge, MA. , The event follows the successful November 15th event ...
Breaking Biology Technology: