Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Fossil Discovered By DCNR's Geologic Survey Staff

Pennsylvania has a new genus and species of fossil discovered by DCNR Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey. Before this discovery, the oldest known fossil of this infra order-- Stenopodidea, known as barber pole shrimp-- was thought to be 99 million years old.
The new discovery, Devonostenopus pennsylvaniensis, pushes the existence of this shrimp back 260 million more years, now the oldest example of a Stenopodidean.
Congratulations to DCNR’s Kristen Hand and Rose-Anna Behr who recognized the fossil in a rock core drilled for a mapping project in Tioga State Forest in north central Pennsylvania. The shrimp was found 502 feet below the land surface in a 2 inch diameter core hole that was drilled in cooperation with Bureau of Forestry.
“It poses a significant impact not only to the world of paleontology, but also to what we thought we knew about how the earth looked here in Pennsylvania 360 million years ago,” said Hand. “The Huntley Mountain Formation, based on earlier research, is supposed to be an area of braided stream deposits, but the presence of this salt water shrimp tells us without a doubt that for this time period we had a significant flooding event that brought sea level up and inland quite far.”
This flooding was probably brought on by climate variations.
For more information, read the article about the discovery in the Journal of Paleontology.
(Reprinted from the November 26 issue of DCNR’s Resource newsletter.)

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