The fossil treasure chest was discovered during excavations for sewage pipes

The fossil treasure chest was discovered during excavations for sewage pipes

The Auckland Regional Government funded research into the findings, which led to the examination and classification of more than 300,000 fossils by the Geomarine Research Institute and the Auckland Museum.

The results are Published in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and GeophysicsThousands of fossils are on display at the Auckland Museum.

At least ten new species

About 300,000 fossils and 266 species have been identified, at least ten of which may have been previously unknown. Each is just over 3 million years old.

“Detailed identification of the fossils shows that they were deposited between 3 and 3.7 million years ago in a tidal channel in an early version of what we now call Manukau Harbour,” says paleontologist Bruce Hayward of Geomarine. In a press release.

“At that time, sea levels were a little bit higher than they are today, and the world was also many degrees warmer,” Hayward adds.

“The fossils thus include a number of subtropical species living today in the warm waters around the Kermadec and Norfolk Islands. There are at least ten previously unknown species which will be described and named in further work.”

Among the rare items are the vertebrae of a baleen whale, the teeth of a sperm whale, the backbone of an extinct saw shark, tooth plates from an eagle’s skate, and a number of white shark teeth.

Additionally, ten specimens of the giant land-living Placostylus snail were found from New Zealand. Researchers believe it was swept out to sea during a storm.

“These are the oldest known snails of this type found anywhere,” Hayward says. “Most of the fossils lived on the sea floor, some in estuaries, some stuck to rocks along the coast, and even more were brought in from the exposed west coast.” at that time”.

The biggest surprise in this discovery is the great diversity of species belonging to completely different habitats, which are pushed together by waves and powerful tidal currents.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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