University of Utah researchers from Salt Lake City, working in central Wyoming, were as shocked as everyone when the rays of the sun shone from fossils from a large hippo-style creature that lost its way 58 million years ago. That state included beach property.
The discovery of a series of tracks, likely from a brown bear-sized Cory Fordon, shows the earliest evidence of a mammal congregating near the ocean.
Anton Wroblewski, a University of Utah geologist, assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and biodiversity scientist Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski at Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, detailed their findings in the hit study. Published in Scientific Reports Thursday.
“Fossil traces, such as footprints, record interactions between organisms and their environment, providing information that fossils alone cannot,” Wroblewski said. With huge milk, it was used in the marine environment on a regular basis only 8 million years after the non-avian dinosaur went extinct.
The traces they found in the Hanna Formation of Wyoming were preserved in sandstone and covered more than half a mile. They are created by two different mammals, with a 5-inch track corresponding to the Coryphodon, a semi-aquatic mammal similar to the hippopotamus. The owner of four footprints is still a mystery.
Wroblewski said the Hanna Formation track was the first Paleocene mammal track to be found in the United States and only fourth in the world, with two tracks previously found in Canada and one on the Svalbard, Norway It is also the largest collection of Paleocene mammal tracks in the world, in both air boundaries and exact track numbers. With at least two living organisms out of the rails, they are the most taxonomic variety.
What makes this particularly remarkable is the way the tracks were discovered, with help from the sun by researchers.
“Paleontologists have been working in this area for 30 years, but they look for bones, fossils, leaves and pollen, so they don’t notice footprints or pathways,” Wroblewski said.
He said he accidentally saw the track for the first time in September 2019.
“When I found it, it was late afternoon and the sun had hit them at just the right angle to see the slanted sandstone. At first I couldn’t believe what I saw. I went through these levels for years without noticing them. When I first saw it a few times, I walked the sandstone ridge and realized they were part of a much larger and more spacious treadmill. ”
Plants, fossils, and pollen allow researchers to determine the age of the railroads that were approximately 58 million years old during the Paleocene period.Before this discovery, the earliest known evidence of mammals interacting with the marine environment came from the Epoch. Eocene, approximately 9.4 million years later.
Modern mammals hang out in the marine environment to escape heat and insect bites and find food and protection from predators.
Researchers believe that ancient mammals had a similar motive for spending a day at the beach.
Research has shown, Wroblewski said, that theories about the behavior of ancient mammals can be tested using these trace fossils.
“There is no direct evidence of the behavior of extinct species preserved in their preferred habitat,” he said. When the light is right “
Utah researchers have a successful track record of discovering ancient life and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is truly described as a treasure trove of fossils.
The Utah Museum of Natural History has an impressive exhibit of dinosaurs and in a major research lab run in the paleontology field.
This latest discovery is just another example of stripping the layers of the Earth in which humans live.