The discovery of a rich and diverse fossil site from the lower Ordovician period, dating back 488-444 million years, has been made in southern France. This unique find was made possible by scientists from the University of Lausanne and the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), among others. The site, located in Montagne Noire, contains over 400 well-preserved fossils that were analyzed and published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The Ordovician period saw southern France located close to the south pole, providing a glimpse into polar ecosystems from that time. The newly discovered fossils include shell-like components and extremely rare soft tissue fossils, such as digestive systems and cuticles, which shed light on the biodiversity of the region.
The fossils reveal a variety of organisms represented in the area, including arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges. The high biodiversity found suggests that it may have been an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north.
This discovery offers valuable information about how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past. This insight could provide insight into potential future scenarios under climate change.
The amateur paleontologists who discovered this site expressed their amazement and excitement at the find. They emphasized the importance of their discovery and highlighted how these fossils provide significant insights into history.
Overall, this discovery is a significant contribution to our understanding of life’s diversity during extreme periods of Earth’s history.