Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




EARLY EARTH
Researchers discover 'epic' new Burgess Shale site in Canada
by Staff Writers
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Feb 12, 2014


File image: Kootenay National Park.

Yoho National Park's 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale - home to some of the planet's earliest animals, including a very primitive human relative - is one of the world's most important fossil sites. Now, more than a century after its discovery, a compelling sequel has been unearthed: 42 kilometres away in Kootenay National Park, a new Burgess Shale fossil site has been located that appears to equal the importance of the original discovery, and may one day even surpass it.

The find was made in the summer of 2012 by a team from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM, Jean-Bernard Caron), Pomona College (Robert Gaines), the University of Toronto (Jean-Bernard Caron, Cedric Aria), the University of Saskatchewan (Gabriela Mangano) and Uppsala University (Michael Streng).

A paper published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications describes Kootenay National Park's new 'Marble Canyon' fossil beds for the first time. The authors suggest that the area and its extraordinary fossils will greatly further our understanding of the sudden explosion of animal life during the Cambrian Period.

The new fossil site is protected by Parks Canada, with the exact location remaining confidential to protect its integrity, though future visitor opportunities have not been ruled out. The ROM is especially proud of this discovery as it comes in a year the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Quick Facts
+ This new finding is the latest in a recent string of Burgess Shale discoveries, including confirmation that Pikaia, found only in Yoho National Park, is the most primitive known vertebrate and therefore the ancestor of all descendant vertebrates, including humans.

+ In over 100 years of research, approximately 200 animal species have been identified at the original Burgess Shale discovery in Yoho National Park in over 600 field days. In just 15 days of field collecting, 50 animal species have already been unearthed at the new Kootenay National Park site.

+ Some species found at the new Kootenay site are also found in China's famous Chengjiang fossil beds, which are 10 million years older. This contributes to the pool of evidence suggesting that the local and worldwide distribution of Cambrian animals, as well as their longevity, might have been underestimated.

"This new discovery is an epic sequel to a research story that began at the turn of the previous century, and there is no doubt in my mind that this new material will significantly increase our understanding of early animal evolution.

"The rate at which we are finding animals - many of which are new - is astonishing, and there is a high possibility that we'll eventually find more species here than at the original Yoho National Park site, and potentially more than from anywhere else in the world.

"We are very excited to go back to the field this summer, during the ROM's Centennial year, with one of our main goals being to increase the number of new species discovered," said Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and the study's lead author

"We were already aware of the presence of some Burgess Shale fossils in Kootenay National Park. We had a hunch that if we followed the formation along the mountain topography into new areas with the right rock types, maybe, just maybe, we would get lucky - though we never in our wildest dreams thought we'd track down a motherload like this.

It didn't take us very long at all to realize that we had dug up something special. To me, the Burgess Shale is a grand tale in every way imaginable, and we are incredibly proud to be part of this new chapter and to keep the story alive and thriving in everyone's imagination," said Dr. Robert Gaines, Geologist, Pomona College

"The Burgess Shale is a tremendously rich resource important to our understanding of the development of life on this planet. Parks Canada is immensely proud to provide access to the fossils for cutting edge research such as this, for our award-winning guided hikes, and to protect forever these fossils in a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site," said Melanie Kwong, Parks Canada's Superintendent responsible for the Burgess Shale

Nature Communications: A New 'Phyllopod Bed'-Like Assemblage from the Burgess Shale, Canadian Rockies DOI # is 10.1038/ncomms4210

.


Related Links
University of Toronto
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARLY EARTH
'Steak-knife' teeth reveal ecology of oldest land predators
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Feb 12, 2014
The first top predators to walk on land were not afraid to bite off more than they could chew, a University of Toronto Mississauga study has found. Graduate student and lead author Kirstin Brink along with Professor Robert Reisz from U of T Mississauga's Department of Biology suggest that Dimetrodon, a carnivore that walked on land between 298 million and 272 million years ago, was the first ter ... read more


EARLY EARTH
165,000 without power in storm-battered Ireland

Beckham gives cheer in Philippines typhoon zone

Study highlights indigenous response to natural disaster

Bottom-up insight into crowd dynamics

EARLY EARTH
Data links quick fix

China gold consumption leaps 41% in 2013

Towards tailor-made adhesives

MDA announces Canada's DND Sapphire satellite completes commissioning

EARLY EARTH
Fiji leader invites climate-hit Kiribati residents to relocate

Meeting the eye-witnesses of ocean change

Israelis fume over EU parliament president 's water remark

Fish living near the equator will not thrive in the warmer oceans of the future

EARLY EARTH
China's Antarctic explorations peacefully intended, cooperative

Ice age's arctic tundra lush with wildflowers for woolly mammoths

Chinese sailors throw bottles into Antarctic Ocean: report

Research gives new insight into diet of large ancient mammals

EARLY EARTH
Danone says will double stake in Chinese milk firm Mengniu

New GM corn gets controversial EU go-ahead

Brazil soy, corn production overcome drought

Polish woman guilty of killing two million bees: court

EARLY EARTH
Indonesia orders 200,000 to evacuate as volcano erupts

Storms, high winds batter flooded parts of Britain

Not yet tame: River Thames shows its power

Magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes China's Xinjiang: USGS

EARLY EARTH
Poaching threatens savannah ecosystems

French defence chief urges crackdown on C.Africa militias

South Sudan peace talks postponed: officials

C. Africa militia is 'enemy of peace': French commander

EARLY EARTH
Mobile apps shake up world of dating

Population bomb may be defused, but research reveals ticking household bomb

The genetic origins of high-altitude adaptations in Tibetans

New twists for love in age of big data




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement