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Dinosaur-age fossilised remains of tiny organisms normally found in the sea have been discovered in inland, arid Australia – suggesting the area was, for a short time at least, inundated by sea water 40 million years before Australia's large inland sea existed.
The fossils are the egg-like cysts of microorganisms known as dinoflagellates, best known for producing red tides or algal blooms that can turn the sea water blood red. The cysts rest on the sea floor before hatching new dinoflagellates.
Researchers - University - Adelaide - Collaboration - Consultancy
Researchers at the University of Adelaide, in collaboration with geological consultancy MGPalaeo, discovered these microfossils in Jurassic rocks of south-western Queensland, near the town of Roma.
Described in the journal Palynology, the fossils have been dated to the late Jurassic period, 148 million years ago. This is a time when Australia was joined to Antarctica, and where dinosaurs roamed across ancient rivers, floodplains and swamps.
Plenty - Evidence - Inland - Eromanga - Sea
"We have plenty of evidence from the 110 million-year-old vast inland Eromanga Sea, which covered a large swathe of central, eastern Australia during the Cretaceous period (following on from the Jurassic)," says Dr. Carmine Wainman, Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Adelaide's Australian School of Petroleum.
"We've seen the...
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