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:1/28/2016)... Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer of human interface ... 31, 2015. --> --> ... percent compared to the comparable quarter last year to $470.5 million. ... million, or $0.93 per diluted share. --> ... of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over the prior year period ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... BELL, Pa. , Jan. 25, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... recognition system at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, ... Border Protection (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter ... do not belong to them. pilot testing of ... out initially at three terminals at JFK during January 2016. ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... January 22, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ... Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to ... and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016   BioInformant announces the February ... Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, ... The first and ... cell industry, BioInformant has more than a decade of ... market, by stem cell type. This powerful 175 page ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Global ... treatment clinic in Quito, Ecuador. The new facility will provide advanced protocols and ... from around the world. , The new GSCG clinic is headed by ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- The Maryland House of Delegates and House Speaker ... Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece ... System President and CEO Robert Chrencik , MBA, ... given to the public by the leader of the ... and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to our statewide ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... New York (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines ... immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project ...
Breaking Biology Technology: