Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Verdict is In...

"ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2008) — Geologists at the University of Leicester have solved a puzzle found in rocks half a billion years old."

The puzzle they have solved is how soft-tissue organisms were preserved so beautifully in the burgess shale formation, on of the richest Cambrian fossil beds in the word (for the sake of full disclosure, it should be noted that I live a scant few hours drive away from the formation and am heavily biased toward it).

Turns out that, as had been suspected, it was a mudslide. We all owe a big thanks to Sarah Gabbot and Jan Zalasiewicz of the U of Leicester, as well as Desmond Collins of the Royal Canadian Museum for, and I quote, "[analysing] the shales millimetre by millimetre" to confirm that the formation was not built up of layers of sediment, but by a large amount of material pouring into the area at once.

Read the whole story at Science Daily:

And perhaps it is fitting, then, having solved the issue of how the great diversity of the Cambrian period was preserved, that I should unveil the latest design available in my store, Trilobite Clothing:

It's called "Support Trilobite Diversity," and for the most part it speaks for itself. This design is filed under Fossil Humor, at this link:

And here's a teaser pic:

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