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Animal's Body Preserved for 425 Million Years

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posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 05:46 AM
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Greetings, ATS!

I've posted a few things lately about amazing finds that date back millions of years. I find the topic fascinating, and hope you do, too. Here's the latest find from Discovery News:




The remains of a tiny animal, preserved for 425 million years in rocks located in what is now the U.K., have just been discovered by an international team of researchers. The creature -- related to crabs, lobsters and shrimp -- is an ostracod, or a type of crustacean sometimes known as seed shrimp. It represents a new species, Pauline avibella, in memory of the late wife of David Siveter, who led the research project.

The 0.4-inch-long animal was found, not only with its shell, but also with its soft parts -- body, limbs, eyes, gills and digestive system. Such well-preserved remains from that ultra prehistoric period are near unheard of in the fossil record.


Here's a pic of the little fella






As the image here shows, the fossils were reconstructed virtually, by using a technique that involves grinding each specimen down, layer by layer, and then photographing it at each stage. It took 500 such "slices" to create the image.


Enjoy!




posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 05:49 AM
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I saw this the other day on the BBC (can not remember the show) and wow it is amazing what we can do and discover.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 06:33 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


The article says that the creatures fossilised remains were "ground down" and examined after each layer has been removed, in order to virtually display the creatures features accurately.

Although I am impressed by our ability to perform this task, I have a concern. If the remains were actually ground down, and therefore destroyed, that means that the creature is no longer intact, and that is a bloody awful shame. It may only have been point four of an inch long, but under a microscope, or with a high zoom HD camera, that would have been a wonderful thing to directly observe.

I remember when our local museum set up a JVC high powered video camera, with a microscope lens, and then placed minerals of various types beneath it. The result was a stunningly detailed look at the mineral rocks that were in the display. It was fascinating to behold the complexity of thier composition under such scrutiny.

I can only imagine how impressive this small creature would have looked under that equipment. But if the description of the process used to create this image has been correctly described, it would mean that the little thing cannot be put on display to the public, and that is sad. Natural history is one of the most interesting subjects that one can delve into, the stunning plethora of lifeforms on this planet even NOW is staggering, and the diversity we see in nature now, can be directly linked back to the amazing animals that used to populate our planet millions of years ago.

Those who study these things should remember that the most important thing about what they discover, is not what they themselves can learn from thier labours fruits, but also what they can teach the ordinary citizen, the casual observer, and crucially, the very young people of the land, about these creatures and the lives they lived. It is they, after all, who will be the next intrepid discoverers, they who will continue the work in time to come, and they require interaction with these things in order to foster within themselves the need to know more, the desire to set forth on the path of discovery.

The destruction of this tiny creature is sad for another reason, and this one might be considered a bit wet, a little illogical perhaps. This little fellow died and got fossilised four hundred and twenty five million years ago, and the bosom of the earth kept it in its embrace for all that time, safe, with all its features intact,as preserved by a force of nature, as it was killed by one. And now, having dug it up to observe it, to record it, which is all fair and fine, we destroy it? Have we no better way to perform an observation? Does our gaze now automatically destroy the subject of our investigation? Have we fallen so far that just by examining something it must be destroyed?

If I have misread the article, I apologise for the waste of page space, but I really think that they mean the sample has been destroyed, and if so, I can hardly agree with them, that the production of the virtual image was worth that sacrifice.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 06:49 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


That was a beautiful reply.

Yes, I believe the process of imaging the creature did destroy it. Hopefully they performed the other tests you mentioned beforehand and recorded the results for posterity. But like you, I too feel sad at the destruction of the creature.

From your post, I have a feeling you might subscribe to the zero-trauma theory of archaeology. Just a guess.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 07:10 AM
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425 million years old... 425 million years old! My brain is finding it difficult to even begin to imagine that far back. And yet your beautiful planet was a home for complex life forms such as this lil guy.

Really puts human life into perspective. reminds me of the start of this video that imagines life on this planet as floors on the world trade center. The further you go up the more time progresses and life on the planet changes. The ground floors representing microbial life, the lower floors basic insect life, the middle floors = dinosaurs etc, and finally human life arrives, and the time we have been on this planet is so small in comparison to the planets age we would only represent the very top layer of paint on the ceiling of the very top floor.





posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 07:11 AM
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That looks more like a seed sprouting than an animal.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 07:17 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I do not believe that I have ever heard the term, zero-trauma before, although I can well imagine what it means. My thinking is merely that we learn more by preserving the natural world, than destroying it. I certainly have at any rate.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 07:41 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


Zero-site trauma simply means that we look, we observe, but we do not take or destroy. We leave the finds for future generations, who will undoubtedly have more advanced technology to study things.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I have no issue with samples being removed from the ground, and in the case of abundance of samples, I suppose the occasional destructive test would not be utterly beyond my capacity to accept. But in the case of this unheard of find, surely the sample is too rare to risk its destruction?

I do not believe that the wonders of nature should be left in the Earth either. I think that they ought to be bought to the light, and put on display in educational facilities. But to dig something up from its resting place, and then destroy it, just to produce some ugly, and inaccurately coloured digital image... it is hardly worthy.

An example of my thinking on this subject, if you will permit me the indulgence:

In my home town, a saxon King was found buried. His burial gear included many small gold items, inclusive of crosses placed across the eyes (he was clearly an early convert to the Christian faith) and other trinkets, pendants and the like. People found his exhumation unpalatable. I was not one of them, because I knew that the plan was to replace his body in its previous resting place, and use the trinkets and items from his grave to improve and clarify our understanding of our towns history, and the wider history of saxon Britain.

However, now it turns out that the local council plan to build a new museum on our seafront (about two point three miles away from the burial site) and put the body of the old king inside it, and turn him into an exhibit. If they were planning to put his body in such an undignified role, then surely it would be fairer to him to put the museum directly atop his burial site, and make that the focus of the museum! But no. No honour paid to him, or his place of rest.

I do not believe in standing in the way of science and learning, when thier ways are fair and respectful. When however, they are not, I tend to be quite unforgiving. Regarding the matter to which I alluded above, I have already written several stern letters upon the matter. Where the subject of the ancient organism is concerned I am not upset that it was dug up, and bought to the attention of the people, because knowing of it, and the oppertunity to look closely at it are essential if our understanding of biology and evolution are to improve. But I am dismayed and appalled that more care was not taken, to prevent the remains from coming to permanent and irreversable harm.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 11:09 PM
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Just to clarify something, it was destroyed because it was in such perfect condition. The material version would only decay and erods eventually. A lesser version would be incomplete. It took a complete specimen for this technique to work. We now have a "virtual" specimen which everyone in the world can see, and we can see the inside, not just the outer shell. It has vastly increased our knowledge.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 12:26 AM
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For those concerned about the destruction of this fossil. The majority of the article reads as if this is one of a kind, which yes would be a shame to destroy. Farther down in the article I came across this:


Professor David Siveter, of the University of Leicester Department of Geology, said: “The two ostracod specimens discovered represent a genus and species new to science, named Pauline avibella. The genus is named in honour of a special person and avibella means ‘beautiful bird’, so-named because of the fancied resemblance of a prominent feature of the shell to the wing of a bird.”


University of Leicester

This is the only place a found that mentioned there were 2 specimens, but for those disappointed that the one was destroyed there is hope



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 04:53 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


There are many ways to prevent the errosion of such a thing. For one thing, placing it in a vacuum chamber would kill off pretty much every biological process of decay. They could have placed it in a temperature control zone, and bought its temperature down so low that no decay related bacteria could possibly survive it. Either of those would still have allowed for the potential for veiwing for years and years and years and years to come.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:03 AM
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Originally posted by TrueBrit
reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


There are many ways to prevent the errosion of such a thing. For one thing, placing it in a vacuum chamber would kill off pretty much every biological process of decay. They could have placed it in a temperature control zone, and bought its temperature down so low that no decay related bacteria could possibly survive it. Either of those would still have allowed for the potential for veiwing for years and years and years and years to come.


And can the methods you mentioned allow people to see the inner workings of the creature? What about interactive exhibits? I'm sorry you fail to see the scientific value in what they did. My view is knowledge, yours is materialistic. Mine pushes the understanding of mankind further, yours is neat.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:09 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


Theres nothing to suggest in what I said, that various interactive veiwing methods could not be set up within the regulated environment. I think combining the (for want of a better word) stasis chamber with a remotely controled camera, that could observe from every angle, and at various magnifications would be a charming idea.

I am not against learning. I believe it is fundamental to the survival of our species that we continue to learn about the nature that bore us forth to the world. But I also respect that nature enought to wish to preserve it at the same time. Virtual preservation is not an acceptable compromise.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:13 AM
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Originally posted by TrueBrit
reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


Theres nothing to suggest in what I said, that various interactive veiwing methods could not be set up within the regulated environment. I think combining the (for want of a better word) stasis chamber with a remotely controled camera, that could observe from every angle, and at various magnifications would be a charming idea.

I am not against learning. I believe it is fundamental to the survival of our species that we continue to learn about the nature that bore us forth to the world. But I also respect that nature enought to wish to preserve it at the same time. Virtual preservation is not an acceptable compromise.


Your interactive setup people can see the outer shell. Mine people can explore every facet of the creature. All it's organs and systems, each layer, everything.

Your system we have zero understanding of the creature and how it functioned. Mine we have detailed information of the entirety of the creature.

Yours you have a trophy that can be looked at. Mine we have a treasure trove of information as well as a virtual copy which could be used to create detailed replicas.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:49 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


So they couldnt have just given it a very small MRI? Why was it a requirement to destroy the thing in order to gain this information? Are we really so hamfisted as a species?



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:52 AM
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Originally posted by TrueBrit
reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


So they couldnt have just given it a very small MRI? Why was it a requirement to destroy the thing in order to gain this information? Are we really so hamfisted as a species?


What would an MRI have shown?

ETA: Just to clarify, how would an MRI possibly work on this? You clearly don't understand how an MRI works. It's the water content in the human body that allows MRI to work on people.
edit on 15-12-2012 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:56 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 



What they usually show? Dont be obsfucatory, if you think I am wrong, that an MRI would not be any use, then just explain why, rather than asking questions to which you already know the answers.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 05:57 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


I edited my reply, as I realize you probably simply don't understand how MRI technology works. It wouldn't work here.



posted on Dec, 15 2012 @ 06:02 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 


Fair enough then. I still cannot believe that there are methods we could not have used to make a diagram of this creature, without resorting to its destruction. Why would it not have been possible to use a carefully modulated sound wave, directed at the creature, and then learn its internal secrets from the way its parts echo?





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