Mysterious 'monster' fossil discovered in US

   Apr 25, 12:27 pm

Washington, April 25(ANI): An amateur paleontologist has recently discovered a very large and very mysterious fossil in the Cincinnati region, United States, which has left the professionals puzzled.

The fossilized specimen, a roughly elliptical shape with multiple lobes, totaling almost seven feet in length will be unveiled at the North-Central Section 46th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, April 24, in Dayton, Ohio.

Around 450 million years ago, shallow seas covered the Cincinnati region. Despite its size, no one has ever found a fossil of this "monster" until its discovery by Ron Fine of Dayton last year.

Fine is a member of the Dry Dredgers, an association of amateur paleontologists based at the University of Cincinnati. The club, celebrating its 70th anniversary this month, has a long history of collaborating with academic paleontologists.

"I knew right away that I had found an unusual fossil. Imagine a saguaro cactus with flattened branches and horizontal stripes in place of the usual vertical stripes. That's the best description I can give," Fine said.

The layer of rock in which he found the specimen near Covington, Kentucky, is known to produce a lot of nodules or concretions in a soft, clay-rich rock known as shale.

"While those nodules can take on some fascinating, sculpted forms, I could tell instantly that this was not one of them. There was an 'organic' form to these shapes. They were streamlined," Fine said.

Fine was reminded of streamlined shapes of coral, sponges and seaweed as a result of growing in the presence of water currents.

"And then there was that surface texture. Nodules do not have surface texture. They're smooth. This fossil had an unusual texture on the entire surface," Fine said.

For more than 200 years, the rocks of the Cincinnati region have been among the most studied in all of paleontology, and the discovery of an unknown, and large, fossil has professional paleontologists scratching their heads.

"It's definitely a new discovery. And we're sure it's biological. We just don't know yet exactly what it is," said David L. Meyer of the University of Cincinnati geology department.

To answer that key question, Meyer said that he, Carlton E. Brett also of UC, and Benjamin Dattilo of the Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne geosciences faculty, were working with Fine to reconstruct a timeline working backward from the fossil, through its preservation, burial, and death to its possible mode of life.

Meyer agreed with Fine that it might be the largest fossil recovered from the Cincinnati area.

"My personal theory is that it stood upright, with branches reaching out in all directions similar to a shrub. If I am right, then the upper-most branch would have towered nine feet high," Fine said.

In the meantime, the team is playing around with potential names. They are leaning toward "Godzillus."(ANI)

Air pollution behind decline in monsoon rains Oct 2, 2:42 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has shown that it maybe human induced air pollution that has caused a decline in the annual monsoon rainfall over the past 50 years.
Full Story
Intense workout enhances long-term memory Oct 2, 2:42 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has revealed that intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent in healthy young adults.
Full Story
Sharks have personalities too: Study Oct 2, 1:59 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): A new study has revealed that sharks have personalities too, as some of them can be 'gregarious' and have strong social connections, whilst others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous.
Full Story
Fly study shows offspring can resemble mother's former sexual partner Oct 2, 1:25 pm
Washington, Oct 2 (ANI): In a new study conducted on flies, scientists have for the very first time found that a baby can have resemblance to the mother's former sexual partner.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY