Fossils of the Soom Shale deposit

4 December 2010
Geology

At www.geology.com/press-release/soom-shale/ … a site near Table Mountain in South Africa has a rock layer a few metres thick that contains the petrified remains of bizarre early life-forms complete with eyes, guts, and muscles. It is a mystery how they were preserved in such a pristine condition but a paper in the December issue of Geology claims it was all down to the wind. A bitter wind blowing off an ice sheet. The fossils were examined under the microscope and revealed a myriad of silt grains neatly wrapped in marine algae. The silt grains are sedimentary aliens – much bigger than the marine mud flakes in which they are embedded. They could only have been blown by fierce glacial winds on the sea surface from a distant landscape, it continues, but it seems that it was rotting sinking vegetation that became stagnant and lifeless (the algae) that preserved the animal remains. It is alleged.

Skip to content