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:3/22/2017)... Vigilant Solutions , a vehicle location ... announced today the appointment of retired FBI special agent ... business development. Mr. Sheridan brings more than ... focus on the aviation transportation sector, to his new ... Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent Coordinator (ALAC) ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... Matching enables to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. ... Systems) ... the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... CITY , March 7, 2017   HireVue ... help top global companies identify the best talent, faster, ... as Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and Diana Kucer ... appointments round out a seasoned executive team poised to drive ... beyond, building on a year of record bookings in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)...  Perthera,s Chief Bioinformatics Officer and research faculty member ... Ph.D., will be speaking at the American Medical Informatics ... 27, 2017, she will be speaking on the topic ... and Care" (from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PST) ... a participant in the "Making Precision Oncology Data More ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading global ... solutions, today announced that it is now offering a ... consumers who want to have their DarioHealth products reimbursed ... alliance agreements with partners across the U.S. who will ... approved, will supply and bill the customer,s insurance for ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... BEIJING , March 24, 2017 Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ... products in China , today announced that its ... the expiration date of the plan from March 27, 2017 to ... proposal. About Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... San Diego, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to ... in 2008, it has hosted corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as ... , Part of the reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new ...
Breaking Biology Technology: