A moss piglet was found trapped in a 16-million-year-old fossilized amber! The New Jersey Institute of Technology notes that this is by far the best-imaged fossil tardigrade.
According to the story by NPC, the discovery of what was noted as an incredibly rare fossil is now helping scientists be able to learn more about one of the Earth's reportedly ancient as well as most resilient inhabitants, namely the microscopic tardigrade. The modern tardigrade is notably eight-legged micro-animals that are also known as water bears as well as moss piglets.
They are actually almost completely missing when it comes to fossil records despite their long evolutionary history as well as their ability to be able to survive certain extreme conditions, which include space. As of the moment, scientists note that they have discovered a brand new species of tardigrade suspended in a reportedly 16-million-year-old amber which is the only third clear tardigrade fossil that has ever been found.
Tardigrade Found in Fossilized Amber
The researchers who have been able to discover the fossil from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Harvard University published their findings on the official Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The tardigrade was found trapped in fossilized amber that was mined from La Cumbre, which is a region of the Dominican Republic that is known for amber deposits.
The amber also trapped a certain flower and insect, which included three tree ants. The fossil is notably the very first of a tardigrade that was found from the Cenozoic era, which began about 66 million years ago. The senior author of the study, Phil Barden, called this discovery a "once-in-a-generation" event in a statement on the official research, as noted in EurekaAlert.
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Ghost Lineage for Paleontologists
Barden noted that what was remarkable is the fact that tardigrades are a ubiquitous ancient lineage that has seen everything on Earth from dinosaurs up to the rise of terrestrial colonization of plants. It was noted that they are just like a ghost lineage for paleontologists that do not have any fossil record. Fossils that date millions of years ago are usually important discoveries, as seen when a 9-year-old boy found a million-year-old fossil in New Mexico.
The fossil is also quite unique for its clarity, age, as well as how helpful it could be to future studies for evolutionary scientists. The New Jersey Institute of Technology noted in a release that the discovery is actually the best-imaged fossil tardigrade ever. Fossils have an important part in science as fossils that were discovered in Morocco actually shattered the understanding of man's origins.
Scientists are reportedly able to observe micron-level details just like the invertebrate's own mouthparts and its own "needle-like" claws that are about 20-30 times finer compared to human hair. The brand new fossil enabled scientists to be able to identify the never-before-seen species of tardigrade, which is called Paradoryphoribius chronocarribbeus.
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Written by Urian B.