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Re: Fossil dung from Islay

>The following was forwarded from Garrison Hilliard; listproc didn't
>like it because it thought the fact that it started with the word
>"report" was suspicious.  Anyhoo, I thought this might be of some
>interest, so I'm passing it along:
>From: skeptix@cyberwarped.com (Mark O'Leary)
>To: dinosaur@usc.edu
>Subject: Fossil dung from Islay
>Date: Tue, 09 Dec 1997 05:11:12 GMT
>Report on Radio 4 this morning that a paper is soon to come out
>describing fossilised dung that dates to 600 million years old: thats
>50 million years or so older than the currently accepted date for the
>oldest animal with a mouth and gut. The droppings reportedly display
>the characteristic ridging associated with peristalsis.

Just to inject a note of realism here.  There is no such thing as a
"currently accepted date for the oldest animal with a mouth and gut".  A
number of Ediacaran fossils have been interpreted as possessing a through
gut (at least by those people who actually study them), and abundant trace
fossil evidence exists for the presence both of a coelom and through gut.
The UK has probably one of the oldest occurrences of Ediacaran fossils
(Charnwood Forest) at around 580 mya, so a 600 my age is not unexpected (to
some of us).

>The Isle of Islay is destined to become quite busy with fossil hunters
>investigating this extraordinary site, and Scottish Heritage is
>looking into protecting the area as a scientific site of interest.

They also do a damn fine whiskey.


cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au                  nedin@ediacara.org
Many say it was a mistake to come down from the trees, some say
the move out of the oceans was a bad idea. Me, I say the stiffening
of the notochord in the Cambrian was where it all went wrong,
it was all downhill from there.