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'Nymph Of The Sea' Reveals Remarkable Brood

Date:
November 23, 2006
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Geologists from the United Kingdom and the United States have made an unusual discovery from over 425 million years ago ... hard boiled eggs! The scientists discovered the mother complete with her brood of some 20 eggs and 2 possible juveniles inside, together with other details of her soft part anatomy including legs and eyes.

The female fossil ostracod with the shell removed, to show appendages and the eggs (in yellow, at the rear), plus a present day relative from the Atlantic Ocean (also a female with beautiful eggs!)
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

Geologists from the UK and US, led by the University of Leicester, have made an unusual discovery from over 425 million years ago ... hard boiled eggs!

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The scientists discovered the mother complete with her brood of some 20 eggs and 2 possible juveniles inside, together with other details of her soft part anatomy including legs and eyes.

The research team consisted of David Siveter from the University of Leicester, Derek Siveter from Oxford, Mark Sutton from Imperial College London and Derek Briggs from Yale.

The team has made a digital image of the fossil - an ostracod (a relative of the shrimps) - which is preserved exceptionally in volcanic ash rocks in Herefordshire. Their findings are published on line in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Professor David Siveter, of the Department of Geology at the University of Leicester, said : "Ostracods are common, pin-head sized crustaceans known from thousands of living species in garden ponds to oceans and from countless fossil shells up to 500 million years old; however, their fossilized soft-parts are exceedingly rare.

"Supposed examples of fossil invertebrate eggs are also few. The fossil we have found contains soft-part anatomy such as legs and eyes and also includes about twenty eggs, each about half a millimetre in size, and two possible juveniles.

"The fossil has been christened Nymphatelina gravida, meaning' a pregnant young woman of the sea'. This remarkable discovery provides an unequivocal and unique view of parental brood care in the invertebrate fossil record, it allows gender to be determined in an animal as old as the Silurian period of geological time, and indicates a remarkably conserved egg brooding reproductive strategy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "'Nymph Of The Sea' Reveals Remarkable Brood." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061122144113.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2006, November 23). 'Nymph Of The Sea' Reveals Remarkable Brood. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061122144113.htm
University of Leicester. "'Nymph Of The Sea' Reveals Remarkable Brood." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061122144113.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

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