Monday, March 17, 2014

450-Million-Year-Old Marine Creatures 'Babysat' Their Young

By Becky Oskin, Senior Writer
oldest ostracod
 A newly discovered fossil ostracod called Luprisca incuba, showing limbs and eggs, from 450-million-year old rocks in NewYork.
Credit: Siveter, David J., Tanaka, G., Farrell, C. Ú., Martin, M.J., Siveter, Derek J & Briggs, D.E.G.

The oldest fossil evidence of animal "babysitting" now comes from 450-million-year-old rocks in New York.
Small marine animals called ostracods, a group of crustaceans that includes more than 20,000 species living today, were discovered buried with their eggs and young by a team led by researchers from the University of Leicester in Britain. The findings were published today (March 13) in the journal Current Biology.
"This is a very rare and exciting find from the fossil record," David Siveter, lead study author and a geologist at the University of Leicester, said in a statement. "Only a handful of examples are known where eggs are fossilized and associated with the parent. This discovery tells us that these ancient, tiny marine crustaceans took particular care of their brood in exactly the same way as their living relatives."
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