Okla. shrimp fossil may be oldest in world
Kent, Ohio (UPI) Nov 9, 2010
U.S. researchers say a fossil of a shrimp found in Oklahoma is likely the oldest in the world, dating to 360 million years ago and remarkably well preserved.
Professors Rodney Feldmann and Carrie Schweitzer of Kent State University's Department of Geology said the fossil shrimp, having a length of about 3 inches, was found by fellow paleontologist Royal Mapes of Ohio University and his students, a Kent State release said.
Feldmann and Schweitzer named the fossil after Mapes: Aciculopoda mapesi.
The discovery is one of the two oldest decapods -- for '10-footed,' to which shrimp, crabs and lobsters belong -- ever found.
The other decapod, Palaeopalaemon newberryi, is of similar age and was found in Ohio and Iowa.
"The shrimp from Oklahoma might, thus, be the oldest decapod on Earth," Feldmann explained.
"The oldest known shrimp prior to this discovery came from Madagascar. [That] one is way younger, having an age of 'only' 245 million years, making the shrimp from Oklahoma 125 million years older."
The Oklahoma fossil is not only remarkable for its age but also because of its preservation, with muscles in its tail preserved, something extremely rare in fossils.
"When the animal died, it came to rest on the seafloor," Feldmann said. "The muscles then were preserved by a combination of acidic waters and a low oxygen content as the animal was buried rapidly."
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