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Marine fossils locked in Sichuan mountains
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16:51, September 17, 2008

Marine fossils locked in Sichuan mountains
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Whenever you visit a beach resort or sea side town, you will also find plenty of sea shells for sale. But a group of scientists went looking in a very different location.

They were rewarded with the discovery of marine fossils in land locked Sichuan province. The fossils are the remains of ancient sea life from nearly 500 million years ago.

The fossils were discovered on the western slope of Jinbo Mountain, which stands 2,250 meters above sea level. They are scattered around an area of one square kilometer. All are embedded in rocks. Experts believe they were remains of ancient sea life in the Ordovician period.

The fossils were discovered on the western slope of Jinbo Mountain, which stands 2,250 meters above sea level.(Photo: CCTV.com)

The Ordovician period began approximately 490 million years ago, and ended around 443 million years ago. At this time, the area north of the tropics was almost entirely ocean, and most of the world's land was collected into a southern super-continent called Gondwana.

The Ordovician period is best known for its diverse marine invertebrates, including graptolites, trilobites, brachiopods, and conodonts, which were a form of early vertebrates.

The end of the Ordovician period witnessed a mass extinction, cited as the second most devastating extinction to marine life in history. It caused the disappearance of one third of all brachiopod and bryozoan families.

Source: CCTV.com

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