A new fossil site from the lower Ordovician period has been discovered in southern France, offering scientists a rare glimpse into the polar ecosystems of that time. The area was close to the south pole during the Ordovician and contained some of the richest and most diverse fossils from this time period.
In total, 400 well-preserved fossils dating back 470 million years were found in Montagne Noire and analyzed by scientists from the University of Lausanne and the CNRS. The results were published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The fauna present at the site include arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges. The high biodiversity of the fossils suggests that the area was an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north. The discovery also sheds light on how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past, providing valuable insight into a possible future under climate change.
Eric Monceret and Sylvie Monceret-Goujon, two amateur paleontologists who discovered the site, have been prospecting and searching for fossils since they were twenty years old. They were amazed and excited by their discovery and understood its importance to science.