In southern France, a new fossil site from the lower Ordovician period has been discovered. The area was close to the south pole during this time and offers a rare glimpse into the polar ecosystems of that era. The fossils found at the site include some of the richest and most diverse from this time period, with 400 well-preserved specimens dating back 470 million years.
The fauna present at the site include arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges. These findings suggest that the area was an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north. The high biodiversity of the fossils also provides valuable insight into how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past, which can be used to understand a possible future under climate change.
Two amateur paleontologists, Eric Monceret and Sylvie Monceret-Goujon, made the discovery while prospecting and searching for fossils since their twenties. They were amazed by their find and recognized its importance as a rare opportunity to study life on Earth’s surface during a time when it was much different than today.
The results of their analysis were published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, highlighting the significance of this discovery for understanding Earth’s history and its implications for the future.