A rich and diverse fossil site from the lower Ordovician period, dating back 488-444 million years, has been discovered in southern France. The site, located in Montagne Noire, contains over 400 well-preserved fossils that were found and analyzed by scientists from the University of Lausanne and the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), among others. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
During the Ordovician period, southern France was located close to the south pole, providing a unique glimpse into polar ecosystems from that time. The newly discovered fossils include shell-like components and extremely rare soft tissue fossils, such as digestive systems and cuticles, giving insight into the biodiversity of the region.
There are a variety of organisms represented in the fossils, including arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges. The high biodiversity found in the area suggests that it may have been an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north.
The discovery has provided valuable information about how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past, which could offer insight into potential future scenarios under climate change. The site was discovered by amateur paleontologists Eric Monceret and Sylvie Monceret-Goujon, who have been searching for fossils since they were twenty years old.
Recognizing the importance of their discovery, the amateur paleontologists expressed their amazement and excitement at the find, highlighting the significance of the fossils and the insights they provide.