Problematica

As a Post-Doctoral Fellow at PRI from the Department of Earth Science at Uppsala University in Sweden, Dr. Anette Hogstrom studied specimens within the area of paleontology called "problematica". Usually, paleontologists identify fossils by comparing fossil specimens with live organisms. Problematic fossils are fossils without any obvious known living counterpart, making identification seem nearly impossible. Dr. Hogstrom has received a grant from the Helluth Hertz Foundation through the Royal physiographical Society in Lund, Sweden. The grant has enabled her to do research at PRI using our collections. Her research concentrated on a group of bizarre fossils known as Machaeridians which occur in Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian rocks (500-360 million years old) of Northern Europe, Siberia, and Central New York. Machaeridians (Latin for "bent dagger") are a group of small, worm-like fossils with an external skeleton. PRI has one of the world's largest collection of these mysterious fossils. She is also investigating other problematic groups, such as the strange Parosonemids, which are possible floating sea cucumbers, and Plumalinas, which are possible relatives of corals. Both Paopsonemids and the Plumalinas are found in rocks around Ithaca. Dr. Hogstrom was here through the spring '00 and has co-authored a paper on machaeridians in American Paleontologist in August 1998.

 

For more information on the the above research, contact Warren Allmon at (607)273-6623 x26.


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