Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




EARLY EARTH
Unique chromosomes preserved in Swedish fossil
by Staff Writers
Lund, Sweden (SPX) Mar 27, 2014


This is a fern fossil. Image courtesy Benjamin Bomfleur.

Researchers from Lund University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History have made a unique discovery in a well-preserved fern that lived 180 million years ago. Both undestroyed cell nuclei and individual chromosomes have been found in the plant fossil, thanks to its sudden burial in a volcanic eruption.

The well-preserved fossil of a fern from the southern Swedish county of Skane is now attracting attention in the research community. The plant lived around 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic period, when Skane was a tropical region where the fauna was dominated by dinosaurs, and volcanoes were a common feature of the landscape.

The fossilised fern has been studied using different microscopic techniques, X-rays and geochemical analysis. The examinations reveal that the plant was preserved instantaneously, before it had started to decompose. It was buried abruptly under a volcanic lava flow.

"The preservation happened so quickly that some cells have even been preserved during different stages of cell division", said Vivi Vajda, Professor of Geology at Lund University.

Thanks to the circumstances of the fern's sudden death, the sensitive components of the cells have been preserved. The researchers have found cell nuclei, cell membranes and even individual chromosomes. Such structures are extremely rare finds in fossils, observed Vivi Vajda.

"This naturally leads us to think that there must be more to discover. It isn't hard to imagine what else could be encapsulated in the lava flows at Korsarod in Skane", said Vivi Vajda.

Professor Vajda has carried out the study with two researchers from the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Benjamin Bomfleur and Stephen McLoughlin. The fern belonged to the family Osmundaceae, Royal Ferns. In modern times, royal ferns grow in the wild in Sweden and are also a common garden plant.

Living representatives of this family are very similar in appearance to the Jurassic fossil, which suggests that only limited evolutionary change has taken place over the millennia. By comparing the size of the cell nuclei in the fossilised plant with its living relatives, the researchers have been able to show that the royal ferns have outstanding evolutionary stability.

"Royal Ferns look essentially the same now as they did during the Jurassic Period, and are therefore an excellent example of what we call a living fossil", said Vivi Vajda.

Professor Vajda has also dated the rocks surrounding the fossil by studying pollen and spores preserved in these rocks. Their analysis revealed that the lava flows are around 180 million years old, from the early Jurassic Period. These results have considerably refined previous radiometric dating conducted on nearby volcano cones.

In addition, the research study shows that spores from royal ferns, as well as pollen from coniferous trees, including cypress and cycad, are found in large quantities in the volcanic rock. This is evidence of varied vegetation and a hot, humid climate at the time when the area was engulfed by a disastrous volcanic eruption.

The unique fern fossil was collected in the 1960s, near Korsarod in central Skane, by farmer Gustav Andersson who donated the fossil to the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The fossil remained forgotten in the museum's collections for over 40 years before it came to the attention of the researchers. The research findings have now been published in the latest issue of the journal Science.

.


Related Links
Lund University
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com






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




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





EARLY EARTH
Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370-million-year-old fish
Uppsala Sweden (SPX) Mar 25, 2014
This week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a team of French and Swedish researchers present the earliest fossil evidence for the presence of bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million-year-old fish. Long bones, which are found in the limb of tetrapods, are not only important for locomotion and supporting the weight of the body, but also host the bone marrow. The latter plays ... read more


EARLY EARTH
Unique camera from NASA's moon missions sold at auction

China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover rouses from latest slumber

NASA Releases First Interactive Mosaic of Lunar North Pole

Study on lunar crater counting shows crowdsourcing effective, accurate tool

EARLY EARTH
NASA Orbiter Finds New Gully Channel on Mars

The Exploration of Murray Ridge Continues

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Resumes Full Duty

NASA Orbiter Safe After Unplanned Computer Swap

EARLY EARTH
You've got mail: Clinton-to-space laptop up for auction

TED turns 30 with new chapter of 'ideas worth spreading'

Orion Makes Testing, Integration Strides Ahead of First Launch to Space

ORBITEC and Wisconsin Await Countdown for "VEGGIE" to Space on SpaceX 3

EARLY EARTH
Tiangong's New Mission

"Space Odyssey": China's aspiration in future space exploration

China to launch first "space shuttle bus" this year

China expects to launch cargo ship into space around 2016

EARLY EARTH
New ISS Crew Wrapping Up Training for Launch

How astronauts survive diplomatic tensions in space

NASA Extends Lockheed Martin Contract to Support ISS

Russian Progress Spacecraft Boosts ISS Orbit

EARLY EARTH
SpaceX Launch to the ISS Reset for March 30

Ariane 5 hardware arrives for next ATV mission

Proton-M with two Russian communication satellites on board blasts off from Baikonur

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Solar Orbiter Mission

EARLY EARTH
Space Sunflower May Help Snap Pictures of Planets

NRL Researchers Detect Water Around a Hot Jupiter

UK joins the planet hunt with Europe's PLATO mission

X-ray laser FLASH spies deep into giant gas planets

EARLY EARTH
China's rare earth trade limits break global rules: WTO

MIT engineers design 'living materials'

Unavoidable disorder used to build nanolaser

Cisco pushes into 'cloud' with $1 bn investment




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - 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.