Researchers from the University of the West of England have found the fish trails in rocks that were once a riverbed, but are now in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. The site of the sandstone quarry was once a river, and the landscape would have been very different from today – instead of moors and hills, there would have been semi-desert around a wide, shallow water course.
A new Research-TV film called Follow that Fish! shows the researchers investigating the fossils in the sandstone. One group of fish, the cephalaspids, looks unlike any freshwater fish known today, with a unique, horseshoe-shaped head shield and a very different arrangement of fins. Dr Susan Marriott, a floodplain specialist from UWE’s Faculty of the Built Environment, believes the fossilised trails, in what was once river sediment, could unlock the mystery of how these fish moved.
She said: “One of the most important things at this time in geological history was the emergence of life from a watery environment into a land environment. We have found fossils and the traces of the animals that made them, from which we can make inferences about the environment the animals lived in and link it to the evolution of life on land.”
For the film, UWE researcher Lance Morrissey from the School of Geography and Environmental Management suggested that animators from UWE’s School of Animation draw moving sequences, based on the trails left behind and preserved in stone, to show how these early vertebrates may have behaved. The fish making the trails appear to have used their pectoral fins to rest on the sediment before taking off – this could be the start of rudimentary limbs that would one day walk on land.
He said: “The Old Red Sandstone was well known for preserving the fossils of the fish. But the fish trails and their significance have never been recorded before.”
Lesley Drake | alfa
Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems
23.01.2018 | University of Exeter
How climate change weakens coral 'immune systems'
23.01.2018 | Ohio State University
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy