Welcome to an extra special edition of Otters Oddities.
What, you are asking yourselves, makes this so extra special? Well, sit back, grab a beverage, and I'll tell you. I am finally going to indulge myself a bit, and share oddities on a subject I know a great deal about.
Most people know a bit about me, but not a lot. One of the things most people don't know about me, and a fact that more than a few find surprising upon finding out is: I'm a fossil collector.
I find fossils to be fascinating. I collect them from all time periods. I dabble in artifacts, but fossils is where it's at for me.
And, that's is what makes this edition of Oddities so special. I am going to enlighten you all to just a small bit of some of the downright strange fauna that once graced this world.
In fact, I will be making this a multiple part series. I have to. There's just so much about life's past that is just odd.
I will be including more pictures in this post to provide examples of some of the odd-ness. I will be including pictures of fossils from my personal collection, as well as some from other sources.
So, are we ready to start our journey into the past?
Like on Earth started fairly soon after water appeared. Water is one of the basic components needed to create life. Exactly how life started, we still aren't sure. Life requires proteins, and proteins don't just spontaneously appear. The leading theory is that simple amino acids formed into simple proteins, and they morphed into more complex ones.
Eventually, all this mixing and morphing created single celled life. Cyanobacteria.
Those of you who have been paying attention will remember Cyanobacteria are also called Blue Green Algae, and are still around today. (see the Oddities post on Stromatolites)
For billions of years, life wasn't much more than single celled organisms. The single cells eventually realized they could group together, and start to specialize, making for a better existence.
Scientists have split history into different eras, periods, stages, ages, etc. The era we're talking about now is called the Ediacaran. It lasted from 635 million years ago until 542 million years ago. Life in the Ediacaran was simple. In fact, when the first fossils from this era were found by Reginald Sprigg in the Flinders Range in Australia, most scientists thought they weren't actually fossils. Some suggested they were trace remnants of wind driven waves.
It's easy to see why when you see some of them.
Take Nemiana Simplex, for example.
This fossil was basically a jellyfish that was stationary on the sea floor. It most likely fed by filtration.
Looks like a leaf, doesn't it? Well, it was an animal. Some spectacular examples have been found that include internal organs.
Creatures in the Ediacaran contented themselves with being lazy. They didn't really do much, other than exist. But, since they were the first complex creatures, they can be forgiven.
In the next post, we will be moving on tho the next era, the Cambrian. I'll be featuring something called the Cambrian Explosion! Sounds exciting, right?
Well, stay tuned. This post may not have been odd enough for you, but we're just getting started!