Moroccan Desert Yields 400 Million-Year-Old Sea Creatures’ Fossils

The sea creatures of olden days

It was during the Ordovician period that it was a rich time for Earth’s marine life, as it was teeming with sea creatures. All sorts of species swam the ocean depths until 400 million years later they were encased in Ordovician rocks, preserved, for scientists to find in the Moroccan desert.

Fossils of sea creatures add to recent flurry of prehistoric fossils

There have been a great many finds lately in the paleontology world, such as the worm with armor, or the arthropod that was recently found. This cluster of fossils will add to science’s growing catalogue of prehistoric species, and bolster our understanding of how early life adapted and evolved on our planet.
The fossils were found by fossil collector Mohamed Ben Moula at the Fezouata Biota in 2000. This area is known to have fossilized remains for more than fifty years, but it was only he that found a fossil with soft tissue, which is rare to find.

Sea creatures’ fossils are game-changing

When fossils are found, it’s a given that they sometimes cause us to reevaluate what we know about the prehistoric era that formed our planet as it is today. However, these have caused quite a stir in the science community because of how rare it is to find fossils from this very early period. Due to the environment of the time, fossilization wasn’t optimal at that time.
Yale professor Van Roy was shown the site by Ben Moula, and he collected a few specimens himself. He saw a variety of species from within the Ordovician period, some of which included fossils of known sea creatures, such as a horseshoe crab dated older than previously known. All of this data only serves to show that it’s very likely the species evolved earlier than we previously thought.
A lot of the research in this area was conducted by Van Roy and his team. They have other research on this particular era that can be found, such as their work on the faunas that was published in 2010.
It’s clear to all that this Ordovician period evidence is of great interest to this group of individuals, especially this Moroccan terrain where so many fossils of the period have begun to unveil themselves. Only time will tell what else the desert shows scientists about the sea from days so long ago.


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