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  • Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    How'd We Miss This ?

    OLDEST PETRIFIED BRAIN
    BELONGS TO A FISH

    300 million is a lot of years
    check the discussion at scientific american
    .. Just what does a 300 million year old fish brain look like? How big is it, ( very small )? And, where can you find the information? And, who does this stuff anyway?
    .. From an article at Scientific American we tracked down the original article at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences web site. It's an open source article so you don't have to pay to read it.
    .. Specimens and researchers from Kansas and Oklahoma contributed to the landmark research. The fossil was from an iniopterygian, an ancient extinct fish that is a relative of sharks, rays and ratfish.
    .. Researchers were surprised that the scan showed a brain. What surprised the researchers even further is that it showed a brain similar to that of a modern-day shark.
    .. The image of the fossilized brain was recorded during a routine computed tomography (CT) scan, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    .. Until now, scientists assumed that brains rarely—if ever—turned into fossils. Other soft tissue fossils, such as muscles and kidneys, have been found that date back longer than 350 million years ago, but because the brain is delicate and consists mostly of water, it's much less likely to be preserved in fossil form.
    .. Modern technology has revealed a fossil that was unknown before this application.
    .. High-powered scans using x-ray synchrotron microtomography (which, like a CT, uses x-rays to image cross-sections of an object) allowed scientists to peer into the rock-solid skull to see the 0.06-by-0.28-inch (1.5 by 7 mm) brain.
    .. Other bits of the fossil include braincase, orbits, and jaw fragments. There are also parts of the ear canal and other forward parts of the braincase.
    .. Supporting documentation includes two movies, (sadly in a "dot mov" format, or we'd show them to you,) and a 4 page PDF document that details the techniques used and, the generated images.
    .. As an aside; a spirited discussion about theology and old fishes is taking place on the Scientific American page. There must be something going on in Kansas.

    click for larger image

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    .. We can only wonder what kind of fly to use.