Home LATEST NEWS Fossils in Newfoundland could rewrite the history of octopuses and squids

Fossils in Newfoundland could rewrite the history of octopuses and squids


The specimens, which are now part of the Natural History Collection of the Provincial Museum The Rooms, may well be the oldest cephalopod fossils on Earth.

The idea is to keep these specimens in the province so that we can study them and see them here., she adds, referring to the thousands of fossils, but also to the stuffed caribou heads and the bottles of tentacles preserved within the collection, in Saint-Jean.

German researchers discover the fossils

Last March, a duo of researchers from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Anne Hildenbrand and Gregor Austerman, announced the discovery of the fossils in the scientific journal Communications BiologyHave (New window)Have.

The specimens, measuring only a few millimeters in length, were found at Bacon Cove, in rock strata 522 million years old.

If they are in fact cephalopods, we should predate the origin of cephalopods to the early Cambrian, said the researcher Anne Hildenbrand, last March, when his team published their research. This would mean that cephalopods appeared at the very beginning of the evolution of multicellular organisms during the Cambrian explosion.

The Cambrian Period lasted some 56 million years. It ended with the beginning of the Ordovician period, around 485 million years ago.

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According to Nathalie Djan-Chékar, the researchers had to cut the fossils into cross-sections to find out what is inside the organisms’ oval shell.

Nathalie Djan-Chekar.

Nathalie Djan-Chékar, natural history collection manager at The Rooms provincial museum (archives)

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Patrick Butler

To identify a mollusk that would be a cephalopod, they [les chercheurs] had to look at the characteristics inside the organism. The way we do that in paleontology is to take a very thin section of rock that allows us to see inside, explains Ms. Djan-Chekar.

Sometimes the external structure is sufficient for identification, sometimes it’s going to be the internal structures that we need to see.

The German team must now return to the province to continue their search, according to the analysis published last March.

TurnedNews.com has been trying since December to conduct an interview with the researchers. They did not respond to our requests.

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