Researchers were confused when they found shiny spots on Silver In fossilized worm droppings, there is no known explanation of how the wavy creatures made it.
Silver spots were found in coprolites or fossilized coprolites embedded in Lagerstätte, a highly conserved fossil deposit that may contain fossilized soft tissue in the Mackenzie Mountains, Canada.Ancient dung was produced by small insects that lived under the seabed when the area was covered by the sea. Cambrian, 543 to 490 million years ago.
The largest of the silver spots was about 300 micrometers wide (for comparison, human hair is 17-180 micrometers wide)-a fairly large excrement for such a small creature. That is. statement..
Julian Kimig, an assistant professor at the Pennsylvania State Institute for Global Environmental Systems, told Live Science. “I’ve never seen this.”
Researchers were initially confused about which animal the coprolite belonged to. However, after slicing rock samples, they came across a worm that was still fossilized in a burrow that would have been built beneath the ocean floor.
“I was lucky to find one of the worms still in the burrow,” Kimig said. “It’s not uncommon to find coprolite in fossil records, but it’s very rare to be able to assign producers to them.”
However, researchers do not believe that worms are the cause of silver spots on poop. Worms would only have been able to get silver from the surrounding seabed. However, after analyzing the surrounding sediments, researchers found that there was not enough silver to explain the significant mass of coprolite. Silver was also thought to be toxic to small invertebrates such as worms, but according to a statement, this idea has not been properly tested.
Instead, Kimig said the culprit was “a microbial colony that was likely extracted from the water column.”These microorganisms, probably BacteriaHe then deposited silver in the worm’s droppings before it fossilized, Kimig said. He added that this could explain the uniform distribution of metal throughout the coprolite.
For Kim Mig, the most exciting part of the discovery was that microorganisms have long “mined” metal.
“It’s fascinating to see what bacteria can do with metals, and today we know that they can extract many different things, for example from mining waste,” Kimig said. “But it’s just fascinating to see that this was likely a well-developed trade more than 500 million years ago.”
This study was published online earlier this year. Canada Journal of Earth Sciences..
Originally published on Live Science.
Ancient Cumbrian creatures Silver spots on the poop of baffle scientists
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