Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Northern-hemisphere fossil discovered living in New Zealand

Northern-hemisphere fossil discovered living in New Zealand

A marine animal thought to have been extinct for four million years has been found alive and well and living near Picton.

Called Protulophila, this new “living fossil” forms a network of tiny holes in the chalky tubes of marine worms called serpulids.

Fossil examples were discovered this year by a group of scientists including NIWA marine biologist Dr Dennis Gordon, Dr Paul Taylor of London’s Natural History Museum and Drs Lee Hsiang Liow, Kjetil Voje and Seabourne Rust of the University of Oslo. The scientists had been conducting fieldwork at Wanganui where they found Protulophila in a tubeworm from geologically young rocks less than a million years old.

This discovery alerted them to the possibility that the animal, previously unknown outside of Europe and the Middle East, might still be alive today in New Zealand.

It was thought to have been extinct for four million years following a long geological history extending back 170 million years into the Middle Jurassic period in Europe.

Scientists then examined tubeworms stored in NIWA’s Wellington-based Invertebrate Collection and discovered examples of preserved Protulophila that had previously been overlooked. The tubeworms had been collected in 2008 in 20 metres of water near Picton.

Finding tiny polyps with tentacles protruding from the network of holes confirmed what paleontologists had suspected, that Protulophila is a colonial hydroid related to corals and sea anemones. It is best seen through a microscope.

According to Dr Gordon, living fossils are animals and plants with long geological histories but which are now rare or uncommon.

“Finding living Protulophila is a rare example of how knowledge of fossils has led to the discovery of living biodiversity,” he said.

“It’s very exciting. Our detective work has also suggested the possibility that Protulophila may be the missing polyp stage of a hydroid in which only the tiny planktonic jellyfish stage is known. Many hydroid species have a two-stage life cycle and often the two stages have never been matched. Our discovery may thus mean that we are solving two puzzles at once.”

The next step will be to collect fresh samples from Queen Charlotte Sound for gene sequencing.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Alex Swney Pleads Guilty To $2.5M Fraud Charge

Alex Swney, former chief executive of the Auckland city centre business association Heart of the City, has pleaded guilty to dishonestly using documents to obtain $2.5 million. More>>

ALSO:

Petrol Burns Prices: Second Consecutive Quarterly Fall For CPI

The consumers price index (CPI) fell 0.3 percent in the March 2015 quarter, following a 0.2 percent fall in the December 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The last time the CPI showed two consecutive quarterly falls was in the December 1998 and March 1999 quarters. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Broadcasters Launch Battle Against Global Mode ISPs

New Zealand broadcasters have confirmed they’ve launched legal proceedings against internet service providers who give customers’ access to “global mode”, which allows customers access to offshore online content, claiming it breaches the local content providers’ copyright. More>>

ALSO:

Sanford: Closure Of Christchurch Mussel Processing Plant Confirmed

The decision comes after a period of consultation with the 232 staff employed at the Riccarton site, who were told on 9 April that Sanford was considering the future of mussel processing in Christchurch. Recent weather patterns had impacted on natural spat (offspring) supply... More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese: Dairy Product Prices Fall To The Lowest This Year

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, hitting the lowest level in the 2015 auctions so far, as prices for milk powder and butter slid amid concern about the outlook for commodities. More>>

ALSO:

Houston, We Have An Air Route: Air New Zealand To Fly Direct To The Heart Of Texas

Air New Zealand will fly its completely refitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft between Auckland and Houston up to five times a week opening up the state of Texas as well as popular nearby tourist states such as Louisiana and Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Reserve Bank’s Spencer Calls On Govt To Rethink Housing Tax

The Reserve Bank has urged the government to take another look at a capital gains tax on investment in housing, allow increased high-density development and cut red tape for planning consents to address an over-heated Auckland property market. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news