Harvard researchers make sense of ancient fossils using 3D

Monday, September 14, 2020 - 21:50 in Paleontology & Archaeology

The shrimp-like fossil was discovered in the 1980s, and researchers knew almost nothing about it other than its species. It turned out even that was wrong, but the big story here isn’t as much the end as the means. After a team of paleontologists, co-led by a Harvard scientist, used special X-ray imaging in 2018 to create a 3D rendering of the ancient specimen, they discovered the fossil was a completely unknown species that had lived sometime in the early Cambrian, approximately 518 million years ago. The creature they described was particularly fierce. Though only 2 centimeters long, it brandished 810 dagger-like spines that were divided among its 54 legs. It used them to shred prey, like worms, on the ocean floor. The discovery was published this summer in BMC Evolutionary Biology and is one of the latest examples of a growing body of research opening new avenues in how scientists understand...

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