Fossils found in 425 million year old 'Pompeii'
425 million year old fossils have been found in Herefordshire in rocks from the Silurian period of geological time. The work has been carried out by a student from the University of Leicester.
The fossils, found in Herefordshire, represent a great range of animal groups, and the University of Leicester claims the study has tremendously increased knowledge of the evolution of life.
They are preserved in a layer of volcanic ash, dating back 425 million years, to the Silurian period of geological time.
According to the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, in the Silurian Period, more than 400 million years ago, this area was south of the equator.
England and Wales were separated from Scotland by Iapetus Ocean.
The warm, clear, shallow seas were teeming with life, and these creatures can be found as fossils in the rocks
The work has been carried out by Leicester University PhD student David Riley:
"We are dealing with three dimensional fossils preserved within a volcanic ash - think of it as a 425 million year old Pompeii."
3D reconstruction of fossils
"It's quite remarkable preservation, not seen anywhere else in the world.
He's confident that the research will cast new light on the process of evolution:
"If we could use this research in the future to target specific deposits with similar chemical characteristics throughout geological time, we'd have our very own time machine on evolution.”
This research is part of a self funded PhD in collaboration with Dr Sarah Gabbott, Professor David Siveter and Dr Mike Norry at the University of Leicester, Professor Derek Siveter at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Professor Derek Briggs at Yale University USA and Dr Mark Sutton at Imperial Collage.Photo credit: 3D photo © Professor Derek Briggs, Professor David Siveter, Professor Derek Siveter and Dr Mark Sutton
last updated: 01/06/2009 at 14:04