When Fossils Meet

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Colossal Fossils is an organization in Wisconsin that has effectively proven its ability to inspire people through the use of dinosaurs and fossils. For the second year in a row, Colossal Fossils hosts the Wisconsin Science Festival, an event that is geared towards getting kids excited about scienc [ Meet Christine Daniels, a local Wausau resident whose passion for helping others shines through in every aspect of her life.

Fossils, flies and fashion: Meet the director who works with all university collections

Meet Stephanie Daniels, the vice president of Colossal Fossils. She's an incredible woman whose passion and expertise has helped this non-profit orga [ Meet Justen Willemon, one of the people who has helped turn Colossal Fossils into an incredible organization that provides informal science experience [ The first were a set of technical, schematic drawings of the anatomy of Kootenayscolex. Our description involved observations of hundreds of specimens in varying angles, qualities of preservation, and levels of completeness. While this gives us a comprehensive understanding of the fossil, it can be difficult to accurately and succinctly present a summary of this information.

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Technical drawings help considerably in this effort, drawing attention to areas of interest while allowing us to succinctly visualize the anatomy of the animal. The second component was producing a life reconstruction of the animal, which is essentially an artistic interpretation of how the animal would have looked like alive.

In this case, Kootenayscolex was brought back to life as a worm crawling around with its various sensory appendages pointed out to feel its way forward it seems like these worms hadn't evolved eyes yet. The bristles closest to the ground were used to help propel the animal forward, while those on its back were used as a defense against predators. The colour and texture of the cuticle the protective outer layer of the worm was inspired by modern polychaetes such as the ragworms.

The end result of these many hours of work is writing up the details of your findings. Finally, the new animal is ready for its moment in the spotlight, in this case being placed in a rotating research exhibit in the ROM Dawn of Life Preview Gallery which you can find on level 3. This gallery is an early look at a planned exhibit on the origin of life to the first dinosaurs. To end this blogpost, I should also mention that January 28 th will be Fossil Fest Family Sunday at the ROM where a number of researchers, including myself, will be giving talks on ongoing fossil research at the ROM and the University of Toronto.

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Fossils Meet Bordon

Explore All Programs. Modern annelids include the familiar earthworms and leeches, and also a variety of marine worms called polychaetes that you may be less aware of, but which are critical components of many ocean ecosystems. Polychaetes come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found in almost any marine aquatic environment you can think of: tropical beaches to the arctic, hydrothermal vents to the open ocean. Kootenayscolex was one of the earliest representatives of this group, crawling around the sea floor million years ago.

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Naming a new species is an essential part of the scientific process, and can often be one of the most fun. The second part of its name was chosen to honour Barbara Polk Milstein, a long-standing supporter of Burgess Shale research including our field work to Marble Canyon. During the time of the Burgess Shale, animals tended to be a lot smaller and Kootenayscolex is no exception, usually measuring in at about 2. Visualizing such tiny animals is difficult so scientists use a variety of tools to achieve this.

The first step to getting a clearer picture of the animal is preparing the fossil. Rarely are fossils revealed in perfect, display quality condition when the rock entombing them is split open. For Burgess Shale fossils, preparation involves removing parts of the surrounding rock that overlay the fossil itself. The fossils are then studied under a microscope using various lighting conditions to see different details of the anatomy of the animal. Other more advanced imaging techniques can be used as well. For example, a technique called elemental mapping was used to see which elements were preserved along the fossil.

This can give us an idea about fossilization processes of different types of tissues. This process can be seen in the image below: the first image shows parts of the rock that were covering the fossil and had to be broken away in red, the second is how the animal would look to us under a microscope the whole fossil is only 1. After the morphology of the new species is fully understood, palaeontologists often collaborate with artists to help bring long extinct animals to life.


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The first were a set of technical, schematic drawings of the anatomy of Kootenayscolex. Our description involved observations of hundreds of specimens in varying angles, qualities of preservation, and levels of completeness. While this gives us a comprehensive understanding of the fossil, it can be difficult to accurately and succinctly present a summary of this information.

Fossils and phylogenetics meet in the evolutionary middle |

Technical drawings help considerably in this effort, drawing attention to areas of interest while allowing us to succinctly visualize the anatomy of the animal. The second component was producing a life reconstruction of the animal, which is essentially an artistic interpretation of how the animal would have looked like alive.

In this case, Kootenayscolex was brought back to life as a worm crawling around with its various sensory appendages pointed out to feel its way forward it seems like these worms hadn't evolved eyes yet. The bristles closest to the ground were used to help propel the animal forward, while those on its back were used as a defense against predators.