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

 

Media: Julian Wilcox Leaves Māori TV

Māori Television has confirmed the resignation of Head of News and Production Julian Wilcox. Mr Maxwell acknowledged Mr Wilcox’s significant contribution to Māori Television since joining the organisation in 2004. More>>

ALSO:

Genetics: New Heat Tolerant Cow Developed

Hamilton, New Zealand-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a new dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress. More>>

Fractals: Thousands More Business Cards Needed To Build Giant Sponge

New Zealand is taking part in a global event this weekend to build a Menger Sponge using 15 million business cards but local organisers say they are thousands of business cards short. More>>

Scoop Business: NZ Net Migration Rises To Annual Record In September

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in September, beating government forecasts, as the inflow was spurred by student arrivals from India and Kiwis returning home from Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news