State Paleontologist Reports Major Discovery in "Geology"

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ALBANY, NY.- New York State Paleontologist Dr. Ed Landing is the lead author of an article published in the June issue of “Geology” that provides the first definitive proof that all major animal groups with internal and external skeletons appeared in the Cambrian geological period (543–489 million years ago). At this time in Earth’s history all plants and animals lived in the sea and advanced groups, such as fresh-water and land plants and vertebrates (e.g., amphibians, reptiles, mammals), had not evolved yet. Landing discovered fossils of a major, colonial, reef-building group of animals known as bryozoans in Cambrian rocks of southern Mexico. At c. 490 million years old, these are Earth’s oldest known