Skip to comments.Fossil records 'crab' death march
Posted on 09/07/2012 12:07:14 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The behaviour of an ancient horseshoe crab in its final moments before death has been captured in the fossil record.
A 9.7m-long trackway was created around 150 million years ago when a horseshoe crab fell into a lagoon.
The find is of interest because the fossil of the animal itself is present at the end of the trackway, where the animal died.
The research appears in the journal Ichnos.
The fossil trackway of the animal's last moments - known as a mortichnia, or death march - was discovered in the lithographic limestone of Bavaria in Germany in 2002, where spectacular fossils of the famous feathered dinosaur Archaeopteryx have also been found.
Since then, the fossil trackway had remained an exhibit in the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in the US until Dean Lomax of the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery and Christopher Racay began working on a project to describe it
"It's not particularly rare to find these horseshoe crabs at the end of short traces, but nothing quite as substantially large and scientifically important as this," he said.
The fossil records an entire walk, and the researchers believe that the abrupt beginning of the trace can be explained by the animal being "flung" into the lagoon during a storm, although they cannot be certain of this interpretation.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
Gone but not forgotten - the creature and its "death march" are exquisitely preserved
From the looks of the trail, he must have had GPS.
that’s pretty good considering the earth is only about 6000 years old!
But also poignant; a Mesozoic tragedy. It’s a vivid picture etched in that stone: plopping into that dark, anoxic hellhole, righting itself, then scrambling for its life, losing its coordination as the environment takes its toll, twitching, slowing, then at last stopping and surrendering.
I feel bad for the critter. In a predator prey relationship there’s usually some element of sport to it. But this little guy just plain got screwed over by fate. It ran its race, but there was no finish line to reach.
(I guess I’m in a sentimental mood today)
Das war genau Schade. Never made it to the Oktoberfest that year.
Not everything in this world is relevant. The vast majority of the world can at best achieve mildly interesting. It’s a pretty neat fossil.
From its stumbling path it looks like it must have been leaving Oktoberfest.
I dunno, judging by the wandering trail, I’d say he may have overindulged and fallen in on his way home...
Peace, Love, and Crabs....
Doesn’t ALL water have oxygen in it? (I know what you mean...just being sassy!)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.