Navigation Links
Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link
Date:2/6/2008

Crayfish body fossils and burrows discovered in Victoria, Australia, have provided the first physical evidence that crayfish existed on the continent as far back as the Mesozoic Era, says Emory University paleontologist Anthony Martin, who headed up a study on the finds.

"Studying the fossil burrows gives us a glimpse into the ecology of southern Australia about 115 million years ago, when the continent was still attached to Antarctica," says Martin, a senior lecturer in environmental studies at Emory and an honorary research associate at Monash University in Melbourne. During that era, diverse plants grew in what is today Antarctica and dinosaurs roamed in prolonged polar darkness along southern Australia river plains. The period is of particular interest to scientists since it is believed to be the last time the Earth experienced pronounced global warming, with an average temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit just 10 degrees warmer than today.

On Feb. 2, the earth science journal Gondwana Research published online the results of the crayfish study, which was conducted by Martin and a consortium of Australian scientists, including Thomas Rich and Gary Poore of the Museum of Victoria; Mark Schultz and Christopher Austin of Charles Darwin University; and Lesley Kool and Patricia Vickers-Rich of Monash.

The crayfish body fossils consist of an abdomen and two claws, and the fossil burrows are nearly identical to those made by modern crayfish in southeastern Australia. "Comparing these fossil burrows to those made by modern crayfish in Australia shows us that their behavior hasn't changed that much," says Martin, who specializes in trace fossils.

Biologists have long been fascinated by crayfish, due to their wide range the freshwater decapods are found on almost every continent and have adapted to extremely diverse environments. Thomas Huxley, a colleague of Charles Darwin, was the first scientist to ponder how crayfish, which cannot survive in saltwater, could have spread to so many continents, according to Martin. Such studies helped lay the groundwork for plate tectonics, which revolutionized the earth sciences in the 1960s through the theory that the continents were once connected. More recently, molecular biologists have theorized that all Southern Hemisphere crayfish originated in southeastern Australia.

"The evolution of Southern Hemisphere crayfish has challenged researchers since the 1870s," Martin says. "Only now, 140 years later, are we starting to put together the physical evidence for this evolution through the discovery of fossils."


'/>"/>

Contact: Beverly Cox Clark
beverly.clark@emory.edu
404-712-8780
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. The worlds oldest bacteria
2. Invasive Australian jellyfish sighted in Gulf of Mexico in summer 2007
3. Australian researchers develop treatment to treat obesity
4. Fertilizer research center an Australian first
5. Inside the brain of a crayfish
6. Microfossils disclose geologic history of eastern California
7. Living fossils have hot sex
8. Rodent fossils allows to determine climate of the Iberian Peninsula 6 million years ago
9. Fossils excavated from Bahamian blue hole may give clues of early life
10. M2SYS Partners With Gnosis Medical Services to Provide Accurate Patient Identification in Developing Countries Through Innovative Biometrics Solution
11. Improved e-jet printing provides higher resolution and more versatility
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016: ... up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% ... 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M ... revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product ... and Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate ... solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... to provide their customers enhanced security to access ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds 2016 ... focus on US, EU, China ... the healthcare business intelligence collection of its growing ... report on the Flow Cytometry market spread across ... 282 tables and figures is now available at ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , ... April 26, 2016 , ... The European ... been selected as one of three finalists for the European Inventor Award 2016 in ... innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony in Lisbon on June 9th. , ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2016 , ... This unique ... Scottsdale and will offer attendees an opportunity to get the lowdown on female fertility ... Over cocktails and appetizers, Dr. Jesse Hade, of Boston IVF - The Arizona Center, ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... VIENNA and ... The prize recognizes the innovation capabilities ... innovations that will benefit patients and laboratory diagnostics ... ) , Norma Instruments , ... setting products in the field of hematology, announced ...
Breaking Biology Technology: