Approximately 450 million years ago the area of Cincinnati was covered by shallow seas. In these seas lived some very large organisms, and despite their size no one has found a fossil of the Godzilla sea monster until recently. The Dry Dredgers, a dedicated corps of amateur paleontologists, made the puzzling discovery.
The fossil discovered is elipitical in shape with multiple lobes, reaching almost ten feet in length. The specimen was unveiled on April 24th 2012 in Dayton, Ohio at the 46th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. Ron Fine will be taking part in the presentation, he is the paleontologist who originally found the specimen, along with Carlton Brett and David Meyer who are Geologists from University of Cincinnati.
Fine says, “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.” Ron Fine belongs to the Dry Dredgers paleontology club. They are based at the University of Cincinnati and celebrated their 70th anniversary this year in April.
Godzilla fossil was found in a layer of clay rich rock known as shale. This zone in Covington, Kentucky, is known to produce a lot of concretions and nodules. Fine went on to say, “While those nodules can take on some fascinating, sculpted forms, I could tell instantly that this was not one of them. There was an organic form to these shapes. They were streamlined.”
Fine could instantly tell that he had something more than a nodule because the surface texture. He said,”Nodules do not have surface texture, they’re smooth. This fossil had an unusual texture on the entire surface.”
For over 200 years the Cincinnati area has been an epicenter for paleontology. More rocks and fossils have been studied here than anywhere else, and this new discovery of a large, unknown sea monster has professionals looking for answers.
David Meyer of the University of Cincinnati said, “It’s definitely a new discovery, and we’re sure it’s biological. We just don’t know exactly what it is.” Meyer, Datillo, and Brett are working with Fine to answer this question. They are reconstructing a timeline working backwards from the fossil, from preservaton, to burial and death, to how it lived its life.
Fine has meticulously reassembled the entire fossil. The specimen is in hundreds of pieces, making this task extremely challenging. “I’ve been fossil collecting for 39 years and never had a need to excavate. But this fossil just kept going, and going, and going. I had to make 12 trips over the course of the summer to excavate more material before I finally found the end of it.”
Working together to study the Godzilla fossil, Meyer, Datillo, Brett and Fine have found a clue to its life from another fossil. The mysterious fossil has several segmented and small animals known as primaspid trilobites attached to its lower surface. These tiny trilobites have been found in the past on other fossilized animals, on their undersides most likely seeking shelter. The paleontologists hope to learn more about the new mystery fossil by better understanding this trilobite’s behavior.
According to sciencedaily.com, the Cincinnati team is reaching out to specialists all over the world, but no one has been able to find any evidence on anything similar being found. This unknown sea monster fossil defies all facts we know and leaves us many more questions than answers, according to Fine. “We hope to get a lot of people stopping by to offer suggestions,” Meyer said.
University of Cincinnati (2012, April 24). Mysterious ‘monster’ discovered by amateur paleontologist. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2012/04/120424121738.htm