Fairy Shrimp, Clam Shrimp, and Seed Shrimp
These eyes were requested via Skype by the author of the poster after seeing the other eyes around the lab.
Unusually, its soft parts are well preserved as well as its hard shell. It has limbs for swimming and feeding.It also has what scientists say is the oldest penis seen in the fossil record. Researchers are puzzled as to why the ancient creature appears so similar to its modern relatives.
The fossil record is packed with shells thought to be from a group of arthropods called ostracodes. They are so numerous and varied that geologists use them to date rock layers.
Their soft tissues are rarely seen but David Siveter, of the University of Leicester, and colleagues found an ancient ostracode that had been buried in volcanic ash during the Silurian Period.
As the discoverer of a new species, David Siveter and his co-researchers provided the name for the ostracode. They have called it Colymbosathon ecplecticos, which means “amazing swimmer with a large penis”.
The creature quickly mineralised and had its most delicate tissues preserved. The find was made in the county of Herefordshire. "It pushes back our knowledge about the palaeo-biology of an important group of animals by more than 200 million years,"
- Photo: The virtual ostracode (top) with its modern relative (bottom)
- More info: BBC News
Giant Ostracod. A bit like if there was a man who was so huge, his eyeballs were taller than you. And his eyeballs were mirrors. And they were shaped like satellite dishes so you looked EVEN SMALLER in them.
450 Million Year Old Marine Creature Babysat Its Young
by Becky Oskin
The oldest fossil evidence of animal “babysitting” now comes from 450-million-year-old rocks in New York.
Small marine animals called ostracods, a group of crustaceans that includes more than 20,000 species living today, were discovered buried with their eggs and young by a team led by researchers from the University of Leicester in Britain. The findings were published today (March 13) in the journal Current Biology.
"This is a very rare and exciting find from the fossil record,” David Siveter, lead study author and a geologist at the University of Leicester, said in a statement. “Only a handful of examples are known where eggs are fossilized and associated with the parent. This discovery tells us that these ancient, tiny marine crustaceans took particular care of their brood in exactly the same way as their living relatives.”…
(read more: Live Science)
image: Siveter, Tanaka, Farrell, et al.
From: Die Ostracoden des Golfes von Neapel und der angrenzenden Meeres-Abschnitte von G. W. Muller. Mit 40 Tafeln in Lithograhie. Hrsg. von der Zoologischen Station zu Neapel. Published 1894
Scientists discover giant sperm fossilized in bat feces
by Morgan Erickson-Davis
In a cave in Australia, researchers from the University of New South Wales discovered giant fossilized sperm. The sperm were produced 17 million years ago by a group of tiny, shelled crustaceans called ostracods, making them the oldest fossilized sperm ever found.
The results were published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The fossils were excavated in 1988, but it wasn’t known they contained sperm until they were studied in detail by an ostracod expert last year.
Ostracods, also called mussel shrimp, are common today in aquatic environments around the world and are famous for their big sperm. Individually, ostracod sperm average 1.3 millimeters (0.05 inches) in length, which might not seem large, but they’re often longer than the entire bodies of the ostracods that produced them. In order to fit in their bodies, the sperm are kept tightly coiled in the males’ sperm ducts until they’re transferred to females, which collect 50 to 100 sperm in specific receptacles during a lengthy mating process…
(read more: MongaBay.com)
illustration - Dorothy Dunphy; Photos - Renate Matzke-Karasz