Skip to comments.Marine plankton found in amber
Posted on 11/15/2008 10:24:14 AM PST by LibWhacker
(PhysOrg.com) -- Marine microorganisms have been found in amber dating from the middle of the Cretaceous period. The fossils were collected in Charente, in France. This completely unexpected discovery will deepen our understanding of these lost marine species as well as providing precious data about the coastal environment of Western France during the Cretaceous.
This work was carried out by researchers at the Géosciences Rennes laboratory (CNRS/Université de Rennes 1), together with researchers from the Paléobiodiversité et Paléoenvironnement laboratory in Paris (CNRS/Muséum national d'histoire naturelle/Université Pierre et Marie Curie) and the Centre de Géochimie de la Surface in Strasbourg (CNRS/Université de Strasbourg 1). It was published in the 11 November 2008 issue of PNAS.
Amber is a fossil resin with a reputation for preserving even the most minute details of insects and other terrestrial arthropods (spiders, scorpions, mites) that lived in resiniferous trees. The forest-based provenance of amber in theory makes it impossible for marine animals to be trapped in the resin.
Nonetheless, researchers from the Géosciences Rennes laboratory have discovered various inclusions of marine plankton in amber from the Mid-Cretaceous (100 to 98 million years BP). These micro-organisms are found in just a few pieces of amber among the thousands that have been studied, but show a remarkable diversity: unicellular algae, mainly diatoms found in large numbers, traces of animal plankton, such as radiolaria and a foraminifer, spiny skeletons of sponges and of echinoderms.
Carried out together with researchers at the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, the study of diatoms pushed back by 10 to 30 million years the known date for the appearance of certain marine forms of this type of algae. This new information, taken together with recent data on molecular phylogeny, marks a huge advance in our understanding of the complex evolutionary history of diatoms.
The presence of these marine organisms in the amber is an ecological paradox. How did these marine species become stuck and then trapped in the conifers' resin? The most likely scenario is that the forest producing the amber was very close to the coast, potentially shrouded by plankton-bearing mist or flooded by sea water during storms.
The preservation of marine organisms in amber is an exceptional asset, allowing us to deepen our understanding of these lost species and to have a clear idea about the coastal environment of Western France during the Cretaceous.
Citation: Evidence for marine microfossils from amber, V. Girard, A. R. Schmidt, S. Saint Martin, S. Struwe, V. Perrichot, J-P. Saint Martin, D. Grosheny, G. Breton and D. Néraudeau, PNAS, 11 November 2008.
Too bad author Michael Crichton just recently died . This has all the makings of a new sci-fi blockbuster! “Cretaceous Park”. Except, instead of T-Rexes and V-Raptors running around killing and eating people, we’d have microscopic critters floating in the sea not bothering anyone. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it!
Seriously, geologists should be able to determine if the location was near a sea at the time the amber was deposited. All they need to do is look at the type of rock formations associated with it. ie, marine or terrestrial-based sediments.
Actually, T-Rexes and velociraptors were from the Cretaceous. “Jurassic Park” just had a more marketable ring to it, I guess.
Sudden global warming? Darn those prehistoric SUVs!
It was easier to spell! LOL
Yes, and T-Rexes were only around at the very end of the 80 million year-long Cretaceous Period, perhaps just the final 2 million years of it, right up until the time the asteroid or whatever it was wiped the dinosaurs out. The Cretaceous Period was the interval between 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago.
Okay, who is Amber and why has she been eating plankton?
Did they find in any rabbit fur in the amber?
Look back in amber.
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She's on the spirulina diet?
Is Marine plankton different than Army plankton, Navy plankton or Air Force plankton?
Aren’t you going to tell us how we all evolved from a single cell and that we are nothing more than highly advanced animals and that there is no such thing as right and wrong and truth is relative and there is no God?
Don’t you know you shouldn’t drink and post at the same time?
I don’t drink.
Aren’t you going to answer the question?
You're jumping to a whole lot of strange conclusions here. First, why can't evolution and God coexist? Second, what does the concept of right and wrong have to do with believing in God? Are you saying one can't have moral values if they aren't religious?
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