Monday, March 22, 2010

Australia's Fossil Graveyard

The Brisbane Times is reporting on the Billabong graveyard in western Australia that is teaming with fish. Deborah Smith writes:
DEATH came on a grand scale 360 million years ago in the state's central west.

When severe drought caused a large billabong to dry up, the fish in it expired en masse, forming a uniquely rich fossil site near Canowindra.

''There are literally thousands of fishes, crowded together like sardines in a gigantic tin,'' said Per Ahlberg, a palaeontologist at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The extraordinarily well-preserved fish fossils, excavated 17 years ago, have helped make Canowindra a popular tourist destination.
But the money is running out and there is much more to be found. Dr. Ahlberg believes that among the fish could be early tetrapod remains, which would make this area one of the earliest tetrapod locations.

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