Scientists at the London Natural History Museum spoke about one of the largest discoveries made recently in the UK. At the same time, the find was made by amateur paleontologists. Sally and Neville Hollingworth are fascinated with antiquities, and in the Cotswold Hills, they managed to find fossils that are 167 million years old. The couple passed on the information to the specialists, and they appreciated the work: on the land that was in the past the sea, there was an incredible number of remains of echinoderms from the Jurassic period.
The type of echinoderm (Echinodermata) includes various species of sea stars, sea lilies, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and other benthic animals. Until now, no place has found so many different species combined and in an excellent degree of preservation. According to the results of the study, the representatives of the museum came to the conclusion that millions of years ago a landslide suddenly descended on this area, and the death of representatives of the fauna was sudden. This is evidenced by the position of sea lilies (Crinoidea), which froze in the so-called "death pose": they hugged their bodies with "hands", trying to protect themselves.
The speed of the event, which became fatal for echinoderms, made it possible to preserve their remains in perfect condition. This is what makes the find unique: in the case of the death of ancient echinoderms from natural causes, their bodies then collapse, and they almost never reach our days.
Most of the species buried by the landslide are already known to science, but at least three species (two starfish and one sea cucumber) are considered new. The discovery allows us to learn more about how these ancient animals evolved to their modern representatives.