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Exceptionally preserved fossils


Episode 21

David Siveter, March's Shell Lecturer, discusses his research into exceptional fossil preservation, and how information from such specimens can be recovered. 

Exceptional preservation - involving soft as well as hard parts - is an extremely rare form of fossilisation. Particular examples include the 530 million year old Chengjiang fauna from China, and the 425 million year old Herefordshire fossils.

These deposits contain a wide range of marine animals that lived on the sea floor and in the water column, including sponges, worms, starfish, snails and other molluscs, arthropods of various kinds and the earliest known vertebrate. Such fossils are crucial in helping to fill gaps in our knowledge of the history of life and in helping resolve controversies about the relationships of animals still alive today.