Animal’s Body Preserved for 425 Million Years


The remains of a tiny animal, preserved for 425 million years in rocks located in what is now the U.K., have just been discovered by an international team of researchers.

The creature — related to crabs, lobsters and shrimp — is an ostracod, or a type of crustacean sometimes known as seed shrimp. It represents a new species, Pauline avibella, in memory of the late wife of David Siveter, who led the research project.

The 0.4-inch-long animal was found, not only with its shell, but also with its soft parts — body, limbs, eyes, gills and digestive system. Such well-preserved remains from that ultra prehistoric period are near unheard of in the fossil record.

“The two ostracod specimens discovered represent a genus and species new to science, named Pauline avibella,” Siveter, of the University of Leicester Department of Geology, said in a press release. “The genus is named in honor of a special person and avibella means ‘beautiful bird,’ so-named because of the fancied resemblance of a prominent feature of the shell to the wing of a bird.”

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