Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rare fossils indeed: Cretaceous octopi

Fossils octopi are almost nonexistent: only a single species is known. German scientists, however, have found three new species, based on five specimens from Lebanon. Invertebrates fossilize very poorly, and shell-less soft bodies like that of the octopus require perfect conditions - no oxygen in the waters where they fall to the bottom, no scavengers near to hand, and a fast covering of sediments. We now know an octopus of 95 MYA looked very much like its modern counterpart.

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