Back to Spineless things... I am currently working on unwrapping a series of fossils collected in Morocco. You may have seen some of these featured on the cover of Nature or in the New York Times. Ever specimen I unwrap is somehow new and exciting; it's like Christmas in March! All kinds of new research is being done with these specimens, but one aspect that I find especially important is the value of these lagerstätte. Now you may be asking yourself, lager-what? A lagerstätten is (as used by us paleontologists) a deposit of extraordinary preservation. Think of the Solnhofen Limestone in Germany where Archaeopteryx is preserved or the insects of Florissant National Monument. These types of deposits preserve fine details that are ordinarily lost in the fossil record. Whether they are impressions of feathers or cell outlines in a dragonfly's wing, these deposits are invaluable to paleontologists.
|A fly from the Florissant beds. See more insects here.|