Saturday, 28 April 2012


Scientists are baffled by this new fossil

Scientists are baffled after an amateur Kentucky paleontologist discovered a 150-pound mystery beast nicknamed the 'Godzillus' fossil.

Scientists can't seem to figure out if the 450-million-year old fossil is an animal, vegetable or mineral.

"We are looking for people who might have an idea of what it is," Ben Dattilo, an assistant professor of geology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, told the Dayton Daily News.

The 'Godzillus' fossil is elliptical shape and measures 3.5-foot wide by 6.5-foot long. It is considered to be the largest specimen discovered in Cincinnati.

"This is the ultimate cold case," Fine told the Associated Press. "Like Godzilla, it's a primordial beast that found its way to the modern era."

Ron Fine, who found the specimen, has been collecting fossils since he was 4. Now 43, he said he spotted the fossil nearly a year ago in Northern Kentucky, an area once covered by a sea with primitive shellfish, but no fish. It took him 12 trips to the dig site to remove the entire specimen.

"Most fossils around here are small, the size of your thumbnail or your thumb," he said. "This thing's huge."

"I knew right away that I had found an unusual fossil. Imagine a saguaro cactus with flattened branches and horizontal stripes in place of the usual vertical stripes. That's the best description I can give," he said according to the Daily Mail.

"This fossil just kept going, and going, and going," he said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Scientists gathered for a Geological Society of America's annual meeting to debate theories on what the fossil could possibly be.

Due to its multiple lobes and texture, scientists believe it could either be some form of algae, a sea anemone, or an inorganic structure, reported the Dayton Daily News. Small animal fossils attached to the specimen may be a clue to finally identifying what 'Godzillus' may actually be.

"It's definitely a new discovery," David L. Meyer, a geologist at the University of Cincinnati, told Discovery News. "And we're sure it's biological. We just don't know yet exactly what it is."

Fine, a member of the Dry Dredgers, an association of amateur paleontologists at the University of Cincinnati, thinks it is a sea anemone, a water dwelling predatory animal that resembles a flower.

"My personal theory is that it stood upright, with branches reaching out in all directions similar to a shrub," Fine said. "If I am right, then the upper-most branch would have towered nine feet high."

Scientists can't study the 'Gozillus' specimen until more fossils like it are found.

"Until we know where to fit it in, we don't really know what to do with it," said Dattilo.

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