Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















EXO LIFE
Solving the mystery of the Tully Monster
by Staff Writers
New Haven CT (SPX) Mar 18, 2016


A reconstruction of the Tully Monster as it would have looked 300 million years ago. Image courtesy Sean McMahon/Yale University. For a larger version of this image please go here.

The Tully Monster, an oddly configured sea creature with teeth at the end of a narrow, trunk-like extension of its head and eyes that perch on either side of a long, rigid bar, has finally been identified.

A Yale-led team of paleontologists has determined that the 300-million-year-old animal - which grew to only a foot long - was a vertebrate, with gills and a stiffened rod (or notochord) that supported its body. It is part of the same lineage as the modern lamprey.

"I was first intrigued by the mystery of the Tully Monster. With all of the exceptional fossils, we had a very clear picture of what it looked like, but no clear picture of what it was," said Victoria McCoy, lead author of a new study in the journal Nature. McCoy conducted her research as a Yale graduate student and is now at the University of Leicester.

For decades, the Tully Monster has been one of the great fossil enigmas: It was discovered in 1958, first described scientifically in 1966, yet never definitively identified even to the level of phylum (that is, to one of the major groups of animals).

Officially known as Tullimonstrum gregarium, it is named after Francis Tully, the amateur fossil hunter who came across it in coal mining pits in northeastern Illinois.

Thousands of Tully Monsters eventually were found at the site, embedded in concretions - masses of hard rock that formed around the Tully Monsters as they fossilized. Tully donated many of his specimens to the Field Museum of Natural History, which collaborated on the Nature study along with Argonne National Laboratory and the American Museum of Natural History.

The Tully Monster has taken on celebrity status in Illinois. It became the state fossil in 1989, and more recently, U-Haul trucks and trailers in Illinois began featuring an image of a Tully Monster.

"Basically, nobody knew what it was," said Derek Briggs, Yale's G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Geology and Geophysics, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and co-author of the study.

"The fossils are not easy to interpret, and they vary quite a bit. Some people thought it might be this bizarre, swimming mollusk. We decided to throw every possible analytical technique at it."

Using the Field Museum's collection of 2,000 Tully Monster specimens, the team analyzed the morphology and preservation of various features of the animal. Powerful, new analytical techniques also were brought to bear, such as synchrotron elemental mapping, which illuminates an animal's physical features by mapping the chemistry within a fossil.

The researchers concluded that the Tully Monster had gills and a notochord, which functioned as a rudimentary spinal cord. Neither feature had been identified in the animal previously.

"It's so different from its modern relatives that we don't know much about how it lived," McCoy said. "It has big eyes and lots of teeth, so it was probably a predator."

Some key questions about Tully Monsters remain unanswered, however. No one knows when the animal first appeared on Earth or when it went extinct. Its existence in the fossil record is confined to the Illinois mining site, dating back 300 million years.

"We only have this little window," Briggs said.

Additional Yale co-authors are Erin Saupe, Lidya Tarhan, Sean McMahon, Christopher Whalen, Elizabeth Clark, Ross Anderson, Holger Petermann, Emma Locatelli, and former Yale researcher James Lamsdell, who is at the American Museum of Natural History.

.


Related Links
Yale University
Life Beyond Earth
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
EXO LIFE
Life's Building Blocks Form In Replicated Deep Sea Vents
Moffett Field Ca (SPX) Mar 09, 2016
Chimney-like mineral structures on the seafloor could have helped create the RNA molecules that gave rise to life on Earth and hold promise to the emergence of life on distant planets. Scientists think Earth was born roughly 4.54 billion years ago. Life on Earth may be nearly that old with recent findings suggesting that life might have emerged only about 440 million years after the planet forme ... read more


EXO LIFE
Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

EXO LIFE
Europe's New Mars Mission Bringing NASA Radios Along

Close comet flyby threw Mars' magnetic field into chaos

ExoMars 2016 - The heat is on

Rocket blasts off on Russia-Europe mission seeking life on Mars

EXO LIFE
Accelerating discovery with new tools for next generation social science

Anbang: from obscure Chinese insurer to global innkeeper

Belgium Plans to Create Own National Space Agency

Astronaut Scott Kelly to retire in April

EXO LIFE
China's ambition after space station

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

China's lunar probe sets record for longest stay

EXO LIFE
Space station astronauts ham it up to inspire student scientists

Roscosmos-NASA Contract on US Astronauts Delivery to ISS on Restructuring

NASA station leads way for improved measurements of Earth orientation, shape

Marshall supports 15 years of ISS science discoveries

EXO LIFE
ISRO launches PSLV C32, India's sixth navigation satellite

Assembly of Russia's Soyuz Rocket With Earth-Sensing Satellite Completed

Ariane 5 launch contributes to Ariane 6 development

SpaceX launches SES-9 satellite to GEO; but booster landing fails

EXO LIFE
NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

Star eruptions create and scatter elements with Earth-like composition

Astronomers discover two new 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets

Sharpest view ever of dusty disc around aging star

EXO LIFE
3D printer could soon make cartilage for knees, noses, ears

Research team documents design of wood-based polymers

Disney research takes depth cameras into high-accuracy 3-D capture

Superman can start worrying - we've got the formula for (almost) kryptonite




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.