430 Million-Year Old Fossil Discovered

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Scientists have discovered a new 430 million-year-old fossil and has named it in honour of Sir David Attenborough.

The fossil is named Cascolus Ravitis in honour of Sir David, who grew up on University College Leicester campus (the forerunner of the University), in celebration of his 90th birthday.

Cascolus is derived from castrum meaning ‘stronghold’ and colus, ‘dwelling in’, alluding to the Old English source for the surname Attenborough; while ‘ravitis” is a combination of Ratae — the Roman name for Leicester — ‘vita’, life, and ‘commeatis’, a messenger.

The fossil is described as ‘exceptionally well preserved in three-dimensions’ — complete with the soft-parts of the animal, such as legs, eyes and very delicate antennae.

The fossil has been determined as an ancient crustacean new to science — a distant relative of the living lobsters, shrimps and crabs. There are about 40,000 crustacean species known today.

The find comes from volcanic ash deposits that accumulated in a marine setting in what is now Herefordshire in the Welsh Borderland.

Professor David Siveter made the discovery.

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