Discovery of exceptional fossil deposits

Discovery of exceptional fossil deposits

Artistic reconstruction of the fauna and flora of Cabriere.
Christian McGall, excerpt from the publication Saleh F. et al. Nat Ecol Evol 2024 (Open Access CC-BY 4.0)

The Cabriere site, west of Montpellier, focuses on more than 400 fossils dating back 470 million years. It is one of the “richest and most diverse deposits” in the world.

An extremely rare find. Two passionate amateur paleontologists, after long-term work, discovered fossil deposits “Exceptionally well preserved”As reported by the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) on Friday, February 9. The initial research work – conducted by an international team – has been published in the journal Nature ecology and evolution .

The site of Cabrières, located near Pézenas (a town west of Montpellier), bears witness to this “The closest environment to Antarctica ever observed.”,Research Center Reports. It is, above all, one of the deposits.”The richest and most diverse in the world. For the Ordovician period [d’environ – 485,4 à – 443,4 millions d’années, NDLR]. And for good reason: it contains more than 400 fossils dating back 470 million years.

“soft” objects

This large-scale discovery is due to the remarkable preservation of the deposits, which will allow an in-depth study of the deposits“soft creatures” Such as algae and sponges. Many samples have already been studied in specialized laboratories in Lyon, Brest or Lausanne. Scientific journal reports Science and the future .

These results will allow us to better understand “A pivotal role” These organisms were in the ecosystem at that time, as CNRS researchers explain. This biological diversity already makes it possible to confirm the hypothesis “Species migrate towards the Southern Hemisphere, as a refuge area, to escape the extremely high temperatures in the tropics at that time.”The researchers insist. Note that with plate tectonics, the continents did not exist or are organized as they are today.

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However, these fossils will require years of additional research to be fully exploited. Extensive excavations and “In-depth analysis of fossils using innovative imaging techniques” It is thus provided. They will allow “To reveal in detail their external and internal anatomy, their relationships and their way of life.”.

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