Fossil or Naut? Updated

Fossil or Naut? Updated

fossil1After examining the odd lump of rock mentioned in the previous post with the magnifier from my Compact Oxford Dictionary I found all kinds of fossils.

So it’s not a fossil, it’s fossils. It’s crusted with Echinoids, Crinoids, and what appear to be some flatworm things (were there segmented varieties?) round things, and what appears to be some sort of pre-nautilus critter, with soft parts partially fossilized.  The photo to the right has an L-Square next to the fossil for scale, and below is a gallery of the miniature fossilized sea life coating the sandstone or limestone rock. (I’m not an expert, and could use some help here with the labels if you know what these are. Most of the external parts of this appear crusted with crinoid junk as a previous commenter noted, I found attachment points in a couple places, perhaps some plates…)

The rock around here is all carboniferous age, and the echinoids and crinoids put this in the Pennsylvanian period of the Paleozoic era, so about 323 to 290 million years old.

Here’s the gallery:

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

This is an important fossil find due the the age and completeness of the fossil, and coming from 47 MYA it’s at an important branch in evolution. It’s not the missing link, it’s another missing link. Please watch the report, keep in mind that the news story is a bit overdone as is the style of all Murdoch outlets, and come to think of it most science reporting everywhere.

More on how this might not be “the” missing link that that news outlets are painting it as at Evolving Thoughts. It’s definitely important and shows some characteristics that are exciting, but more data needed before it can be known if IDA is mainline or offshoot from our path.

More from Carl Zimmer

PZ Meyers has more at Panda’s Thumb

Charles at Little Green Footballs has more as well in the ongoing debate over science and the Republican party. This is just the latest fossil that the shills at the Discovery Institute and their flacks are working to dismiss, a tedious kneejerk reaction.

The hype, the documentary, the book has the science community all abuzz with how this was released. There’s a good and bad side to it. Sensationalizing science does gain public attention to science which is sorely needed in the years ahead, on the other hand overblown reporting allows misinterpretation, and niches that Discovery Institute can claw into with “controversy” in mind. With their stable of prolific spin meisters and outright liars they’ll have the conservative public believing this is a plastic model before you know it.