Navigation Links
Paleontologists audition modern examples of ancient behavior
Date:3/16/2011

Paleontologists agree that it's difficult to observe behavior in fossil specimens that are dead even extinct and petrified. One method is to find a modern, living, species that has some similarities to the ancient animal.

That's the strategy adopted by David L. Meyer, University of Cincinnati professor of geology and colleagues as they study a group of ancient shellfish known as brachiopods. Although they resemble clams or other shelled mollusks, brachiopods are more closely related to marine worms. Relatively rare today, brachiopods were a dominant species in Paleozoic seas.

In the fossil-rich rocks of the Cincinnati region, a group of brachiopods known as strophomenates are found fossilized surrounded by tiny "moats." It is believed that the brachiopods themselves made the moats, but it is not certain how they did so. Paleontologists think the animals needed to open their shells to a gape of more than 45 degrees to make the moats.

Meyer, along with Benjamin Dattilo of Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne (a Ph.D. graduate of UC's geology program), and two students went looking for a modern analogue to the Paleozoic brachiopods. They found a tiny modern brachiopod named Thecidellina meyeri in the waters off Curaao in the southern Caribbean.

"It's a reasonably good analogue," Meyer said. "They gape widely, and the internal anatomy shows similar structures."

Meyer, Dattilo, and UC students Tanya Del Valle and Christine Rahtz collected a fragment of coral covered with more than 30 Thecidellina specimens, and placed it in a tank with running seawater in the lab in Curaao.

"They rapidly recovered," Meyer said, "resumed normal feeding behaviors, and maintained a 90-degree gape."

With video cameras recording, the paleontologists measured the ability of the modern brachiopods to move water around, generating relatively sluggish feeding currents and relatively strong currents when they snapped their shells shut.

Sometimes, the brachiopods would snap shut, stay shut, and then slowly open. At other times, they would open partially and shut several times in rapid succession.

The behavior of the modern animals provides a clue to ancient behaviors.

"By analogy," Meyer said, "feeding currents of the ancient brachiopods were too weak to disturb sediments, allowing them to feed close to the sea floor."


'/>"/>

Contact: Greg Hand
greg.hand@uc.edu
513-556-1822
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Paleontologists find extinction rates higher in open-ocean settings during mass extinctions
2. Paleontologists doubt dinosaur dance floor
3. Ancient teeth raise new questions about the origins of modern man
4. 40-year-old test procedure finds modern niche in developing new medicines
5. The brains of Neanderthals and modern humans developed differently
6. Modern humans emerged far earlier than previously thought
7. Scripps Research study challenges conventional theory of modern drug design
8. New book reviews ancient and modern worlds of RNA
9. Cactus genes connect modern Mexico to its prehistoric past
10. Irish hares fall foul of modern farming trap
11. Prehistoric fish extinction paved the way for modern vertebrates
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of ... the latest premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. ... ... ... Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS ... DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as ... the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ Composite ... Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at 17,780.83; ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ), ... more about these stocks by accessing their free trade alerts ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds ... to its pharmaceuticals section with historic and forecast ... much more. Complete report on the ... profiling 15 companies and supported with 261 tables ... . The Global Cell Culture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: