15:27 13 December 2012
Experts have made a stunning discovery as they explore a site in Herefordshire near the Welsh border in the UK. According to reports, the fossils, that were preserved by volcanic ash, are believed to be 425million years old.
Experts said that the fossils show the animals’ soft tissues, such as eyes and limbs.
The species are named Pauline avibella, thought to be in honour of Professor’s David Siveter’s wife. Avibella, on the other hand, was supposedly chosen because it means beautiful bird. This, according to the expert, perfectly describes what seemed to be wings of these creatures.
“The find is important because it is one of only a handful preserving the fossilised soft-tissues of ostracods [type of crustacean],” Professor Siveter told the BBC.
“[The fossils] allow unparalleled insight into the ancient biology, community structure and evolution of animals.”
The professor said that extracting fossils from the limestone rock wasn’t that easy. In fact, he described it as “salami slicing.” The process, which includes grinding down each specimen and later on taking photographs for each stage taken, was understood to have been time-consuming if not daunting.
Using a computer, the experts were able to create a virtual fossil by stitching the resulting 500 images.
“What you have in the image is a real animal, warts and all,” Prof. Siveter added. “It might look strange but you've got relatives of these ostracods in your ponds, in lakes, rivers and the oceans.”
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