Physical tomography involves grinding down the fossil in 20 micrometer increments and photographing the surface of the fossil at each stage with a highly sensitive camera. After imaging 500 slices, the fossil was destroyed, but the team had enough data to build a computer model from these.
|The computer models of the 425 million year old ostracod |
Pauline avibella from fourdifferent angles
It was evidently a new species which was named Pauline avibella or beautiful bird on account of the shell's similarity to a pair of wings. What is interesting is the preservation of the soft-tissue. 'Ostracods are the most abundant fossil arthropods, occurring ubiquitously as bivalved shells in rocks of the last 490 million years, and are common in most water environments today,' said Siveter.
Soft part preservation is rare, but vital to our understanding of evolution. Yet this group of arthropods has a hidden, new identity.....'A case of a wolf in sheep's clothing.'