Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Cincinnati Blob - Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

Experts are trying to figure out whether a huge fossil found by an amateur palaeontologist in northern Kentucky is an animal or a plant. They’re pretty sure it isn’t a mineral.

The 450-million-year-old fossil is more than 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and weighs about 150 pounds. Intricate patterns on its rippled surface resemble the skin of a bird, but some parts look more like fish scales. Whatever it was, it apparently had no bones, so it most likely was not a vertebrate, and was undoubtedly a relatively simple life form. Another interesting piece of the puzzle is the presence of small trilobite fossils found on the surface of the fossil, which has been dubbed Godzillus.

So far, suggestions as to what it might have been include a type of huge algae, a jellyfish, or possibly a broken piece of coral or sponge. The Cincinnati area was covered by a 100- to 200-foot deep sea at the time this animal (or plant) lived, so the researchers are concentrating on trying to identify what kind of sea life this unique specimen represents.

As of now, it is much too early to expect any definitive results from the investigation. Photos of the whatever-it-is can be found here, and more information is available here

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