Finding a single fossil of an animal that died about 50 million years ago is great. Find two? That is simply incredible. But what about finding 259 of them at once? Well, there is simply no word in the English language to describe that level of greatness.
That's exactly what researchers at Arizona State University and the Mizuta Memorial Museum in Japan discovered, hiding inside a large amount of limestone at the fossil access point known as the Green River Formation. The hundreds of tiny fossils are what remains of a school of small fish that turned out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the discovery is helping scientists better understand how ancient fish behaved.
The discovery, which was written in a new research paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society BIt's like a window back in time. Small fish, some as small as 20 millimeters from tip to tail, seem to have been traveling on a bench like fish do today, and that's a big problem for researchers trying to paint a picture of how the fish behaved. ancient species.
Bones can only teach us a lot about what extinct species were like for a long time, and trying to figure out clues about how they acted when they are alive can often be next to impossible. These pint-sized fish, which are believed to have been trapped in a mbad of sand that collapsed in shallow water, were clearly clustering in a formation similar to what we see today in small fish, which means that Fish have been doing this for at least 50 million years.
"The collective movement of groups of animals can arise from simple rules that govern the interactions of each individual with their neighbors. "The researchers wrote that studies of existing species have shown how such rules produce coordinated group behavior, but little is known about their evolutionary origins or whether living extinct organisms used similar rules." "Our study highlights the possibility of exploring the social communication of extinct animals, which is believed not to leave fossil records."