Inexperienced French palaeontologists unearth fossils of global importance dating back 470 million years

Unearthing the Past: Discovery of a Diverse Fossil Site Offers Insight into Extreme Climate Responses

In southern France, a rich and diverse fossil site from the lower Ordovician period has been discovered. Dating back 488-444 million years, the site, located in Montagne Noire, contains over 400 well-preserved fossils that were found and analyzed by scientists from the University of Lausanne and the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), among others. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The discovery has provided valuable information about how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past, which could offer insight into potential future scenarios under climate change. During the Ordovician period, southern France was located close to the south pole, providing a unique glimpse into polar ecosystems from that time. The newly discovered fossils include shell-like components and extremely rare soft tissue fossils, such as digestive systems and cuticles, giving insight into the biodiversity of the region.

The high biodiversity found in the area suggests that it may have been an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north. There are a variety of organisms represented in the fossils, including arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges. The discovery was made by amateur paleontologists Eric Monceret and Sylvie Monceret-Goujon who have been searching for fossils since they were twenty years old.

Recognizing the importance of their discovery

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