Humm wonder if god just placed this one there to further "test" us:P
Blue Beach fossil tagged as oldest of its kind
Annapolis Valley find points to ancient 4-legged creatures
By ANTHONY COOPER
BLUE BEACH - The oldest pelvis fossil in the western hemisphere has turned up on the shores of Blue Beach, near Hantsport in the Annapolis Valley.
It sheds light on a distant, murky period of evolution over 350 million years ago, says a paleontologist from California.
The pelvis was found by Blue Beach Fossil Museum curator Chris Mansky, and identified by paleontologist Jason Anderson of Western University in Pomona, Calif., as belonging to an ancient family of four-legged creatures.
The creatures were named Whatcheeriids, after the city of What Cheer, Iowa, near where they were first discovered a decade ago.
The rare fossils help fill in a gap of 22 million years in the fossil record when simple tetrapods grew into several distinct and complex species, says a paleontologist from California.
Similar fossils have only ever been found in Iowa; Queensland, Australia; and Dumbarton, Scotland.
The pelvis is believed to be the oldest yet, by about five million years.
Mr. Anderson presented his findings at the North American paleontology convention last week in Halifax.
"There's good evidence for a new type of animal in this area," he said in a recent interview. Using the new find, scientists will be able to slowly tease out a better understanding of the little-known period in evolution.
Tetrapods, the ancestors of all amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, are said to be the first animals to crawl out of the sea and walk on land.
"The discovery of this new Whatcheeriid pelvis really helps us to begin to characterize with some confidence just what sort of composition the earliest terrestrial (animals) may have had," Mr. Mansky said.
"Prior to this, we had little to no solid information" besides footprints.
Blue Beach is one of only two tetrapod bone fossil sites in the world with bones dating back to a blank space in the fossil record, beginning 365 million years ago, named Romer's Gap.
Because few fossils from that period have been found, scientists don't know when or how tetrapods suddenly exploded into several distinct types of animals.
The Lower Carboniferous period in evolution is "just a big messy riddle" to paleontologists, Mr. Anderson said, but Blue Beach bones are . . . helping scientists solve the puzzle.
"There are several lifetimes worth of careers to be made (at Blue Beach)," he said.