Photo by Daniel Toropeko: Pixels
Ancient researchers have unearthed the largest fossil tomb of an alien-like Jurassic sea creature under a limestone quarry in Cotswolds, England.
Tens of thousands of marine vertebrates in the fossil record have been called echinoderms – the ancient ancestor of modern starfish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and roasted sea lilies, which means “skin of porcupines” in Greek – have been incorrectly preserved in their life cycle, researchers say Report.
But on the rise, the growing marine community faced a catastrophic end: a mysterious catastrophe, perhaps caused by an earthquake caused by landslides that suffocated and buried animals for 167 million years.
“We have a kind of Jurassic Bombay here,” said Neville Hollingworth, an amateur fossil hunter who discovered the cache on a trip with his wife Sally.
Tim Evan, curator of the Natural History Museum in London, and curator Tim Evan told the BBC: “The creatures tried to defend themselves, accepting the pressure of withdrawing their hands, but to no avail.”
The site dates back to the pre-Central Jurassic period (approximately 200 million to 145 million years ago), when bloodthirsty dinosaurs roamed the earth. At sea, things kept changing: up to half of all marine life died in a catastrophic event at the end of the Triassic, and echinoderms were developing to fill the gap.
The researchers noted that echinoderms have become more successful at capturing food through their spines.
The team said the sea floor was shallow, probably 65 to 130 feet (20 to 40 meters) deep.
To study thousands upon thousands of different specimens, researchers would like to learn more about the evolution of echinoderms during the Jurassic period – including describing many new organisms. In addition to the animals, the team also found specimens of wood and pollen preserved in the rocks, which may reveal additional details about climate change at the time.
Source: Scientific warning
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