Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oldest fossils found in Cordillera Bética mountain range

Date:
December 14, 2010
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Researchers have found fossils of Ordovician conodonts dating to between 446 and 444 million years ago for the first time in the western Mediterranean. The discovery of these very primitive marine vertebrates has helped scientists to reconstruct the palaeogeography of the Cordillera Bética mountain range. Their study shows that the mountain system in the south of the Iberian Peninsula was located alongside the Alps at that time.

Spanish researchers have found fossils of Ordovician conodonts dating to between 446 and 444 million years ago for the first time in the western Mediterranean.
Credit: Rodríguez-Cańero et al.

Spanish researchers have found fossils of Ordovician conodonts dating to between 446 and 444 million years ago for the first time in the western Mediterranean. The discovery of these very primitive marine vertebrates has helped scientists to reconstruct the palaeogeography of the Cordillera Bética mountain range. Their study shows that the mountain system in the south of the Iberian Peninsula was located alongside the Alps at that time.

In 2006, a group of Andalusian geologists found the oldest fossils in the Cordillera Bética, dating from the late Ordovician period between 446 and 444 million years ago, in the Maláguide Complex in Ardales (Malaga). This was also the first solid evidence of Ordovician rocks in the Bética range.

"The importance of this finding stems not only from the age of the fossils and the fact they make it possible to date the age of the materials they contain, but also from the valuable information they provide to help us reconstruct the tectonic history, the palaeogeography, and the geological history of the Cordillera Bética," Rosario Rodríguez-Cańero, lead author of the study and a researcher at the Department of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology of the University of Granada, said.

The study, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Terra Nova, says that the fossils of conodonts, which are very rare and difficult to find, are "an essential tool" for unravelling the geological history of the Bética mountains and learning about the features of the environment in which they developed and the thermal history of the rocks in which they are found.

The researchers analysed the characteristics of the conodont remains they found, the presence of certain species, and the absence of others, and compared these with others of a similar age found in the macizo ibérico (essentially the western half of the Iberian Peninsula) and other ranges in the area.

The results of the study show that, during the late Ordovician period, the Maláguide Complex was not to be found with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula along the edge of the palaeo-continent of Gondwana, "but was rather at a much lower latitude much closer to the Alps, with its Ordovician conodont fauna showing much closer similarities to the fauna of this area," says Rodríguez-Cańero.

Tiny and essential fossils

The conodonts were small, eel-shaped animals without any vertebral column, which measured a few tenths of a millimetre in length, and inhabited the seas during the Palaeozoic era and became extinct at the end of the Triassic (around 205 million years ago).

The fossilised remains usually found are not complete conodonts, but rather pieces of less than one millimetre in size, with a phosphate composition similar to that of vertebrate teeth. The conodonts had these in the cephalic region and used them to catch and grind up their food.

"These teeth were the only mineralised pieces of conodonts, meaning they are generally the only remains to have fossilised, although complete conodont fossils have been found in other parts of the world," the geologist explains.

The fossils found by the research team are not only the oldest in the Cordillera Bética, but are also the first remains of Ordovidician conodonts found in the entire western Mediterranean, from Gibraltar to the south of Italy.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Rodriguez-Canero, R.; Martín-Algarra, A.; Sarmiento, G.N.; Navas-Parejo, P. First Late Ordovician conodont fauna in the Betic Cordillera (South Spain): a palaeobiogeographical contribution. Terra Nova, 22(5): 330-340

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Oldest fossils found in Cordillera Bética mountain range." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213071113.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2010, December 14). Oldest fossils found in Cordillera Bética mountain range. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213071113.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Oldest fossils found in Cordillera Bética mountain range." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101213071113.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) — As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins