Fossilized bones help scientists not only identify the age of rocks, but also to determine the ancient environment and climate in which ancient humans and animals once lived. One just needs to know the right methods to use.
Paleontology is the study of fossils. Although most people think of fossils as only being bones and shells, this research field also focuses on fossilized soft tissues, such as blood vessels. Using fine-scale techniques allows us to investigate the internal anatomy of Triassic vertebrates.
Most people view examining fossils as a kind of hobby, and only a lucky few have managed to turn it into their profession. But is there money to be earned from it? And what benefits does the taxpayer stand to gain?
Trace fossils Lockeia siliquaria James, Ophiomorpha nodosa Lundgren, Parataenidium seymourensis isp. n., Protovirgularia rugosa (Miller and Dyer) and Rhizocorallium jenense Zenker have been described for the first time from the Eocene La Meseta Formation of Seymour (Marambio) Island, Antarctic Peninsula . Determinations of some trace fossils formerly described from this formation have been revised. The whole trace fossils association from the La Meseta Formation points to foreshore-offshore environment as indicated by presence of the Skolithos and Cruziana ichnofacies, and to at least temporal normal salinity.
The Jurassic period is symbolized by large reptiles that dominated the land and seas. The most recent paleontological findings indicate that the territory of Poland was inhabited by several groups of large marine animals.
Studies of past vegetation from the inner fjords of the Svalbard archipelago have not previously been reported. This study assesses the potential of sediments retrieved from two sites in Petuniabukta, Billefjorden to track vegetation response to Quaternary climate change. The first sediment profile was retrieved from periodic lake on a 4 m a.s.l. marine terrace with a basal radiocarbon dated to 5 080 ± 30 BP, the second was retrieved from a depression in wet tundra on a 24 m a.s.l. marine terrace, which upper part was dated to 9 470 ± 30 BP. The study is primarily focused on macro- and micro−fossils. Pollen grains are present in very low concentrations. Macro−fossils were represented mostly by leafs and buds of Salix species and Dryas octopetala as well as the hybrid Salix herbacea x polaris . Fossil moss remains represent an important part of arctic ecosystems. Tardigrada remains were found in the sediments in high abundance whilst eggs and exuviae of at least six species were identified. The sediments are definitely suitable for the reconstruction of past conditions. However, it is necessary to take care not to focus at single type of analysis, as pollen analysis appeared uninformative and more information was obtained from plant macro − fossils (mosses, vascular plants). Little attention has been given to Tardigrada in the past, as they were overlooked and the preservation in sediments is usually very low.
Penguins (Aves: Sphenisciformes) hold much interest for many people, including (but not limited to) scientists. According to results of molecular studies, penguin history began in the Cretaceous, but the oldest bones assigned to these birds are Paleocene in age. The first fossil representative of Sphenisciformes formally described was Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, and this event took place 150 years ago. Since that time, several dozens of species have been erected, though not all of them have stood a test of time. The 21st century entered new dynamics into the paleontology of penguins, and (importantly) it concerned both the new material, and new theories. This paper summarizes what we currently know about extinct penguins and indirectly suggests the most promising areas for further research.
The glacial and glacio-marine sediments of the Oligocene Polonez Cove and Early Miocene Cape Melville Formations on King George Island (South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica) yield numerous erratic boulders of limestone, in particular archaeocyathan-algal boundstone, oolite, onkolite, and biomicrite. Some of these boulders are fossiliferous and contain archaeocyathans, sponges, inarticulate brachiopods, monoplacophorans, gastropods, hyolithids, trilobites, ostracodes and such enigmatic fossils as: Chancelloria, Coleolella. Dailyatia. Halkieria. Hadimopanella. Hyolithellus. "Lenastella", Mongolitubulus and Torellella. The small shelly fauna appears to be Early Cambrian (Botomian) in age. The boulders of fossiliferous limestones resemble the rocks of the Shackleton Limestone unit in the central Transantarctic Mts. The lithological composition of the boulder assemblage brought to King George Island during the Tertiary glaciations suggests that the Cambrian outcrops around the Weddell Sea are the source of the erratics. The Antarctic Lower Cambrian fauna resembles its analogues in Australia and Asia.
The pace of climate change observed since the beginning of the industrial era has prompted scientists to seriously consider whether human activity is to blame for global warming. On the geological timescale, however, climate change is certainly nothing new or exceptional – as is clear when one looks at the record of plant and animal fossils.
Micropaleontological and palynological samples from three Cenozoic diamictites at Cape Lamb, Vega Island, James Ross Basin were analysed. Fossiliferous samples yielded reworked and autochthonous a ssemblages of Mesozoic calcareous nannofossils, impoverished Cretaceous foraminifer a together with Neogene species, as well as Late Cretaceous dinoflagellate cysts, pollen, spores and abundant Cenozoic microforaminiferal linings. The recovered nannoflora indicates Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian–Albian) and Late Cretaceous (Santonian–Early Campanian) ages, suggesting an in tensive reworking of marine sediments. The presence of the Early Cretaceous species Nannoconus circularis Deres et Acheriteguy in the diamictite represents its first record for the James Ross Basin. The scarce foraminiferal fauna includes Pullenia jarvisi Cushman, which indicates reworking from lower Maastrichtian–lower Paleocene sediments, and also the Neogene autochthonous Trochammina sp. aff. T. intermedia. The inner−organic layer observed inside this specimen appears to be identical to microforaminiferal linings recovered from the same sample. Palynomorphs found in the studied samples suggest erosion from the underlying Snow Hill Island and the López de Berto − dano Formation beds (upper Campanian–upper M aastrichtian). These recovered assemblages indicate either different periods of deposition or reworking from diverse sources during Cenozoic glaciation, originating in James Ross Island and the Antarctic Peninsula with the influence of local sediment sources.
New evidence of Eocene preglacial environments has been found on the southern coast of Ezcurra Inlet on King George Island, South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica. Plant remains (trunks, leaves, detritus) and carbonaceous seams and beds occur in sedimentary strata in a 4 km long Cytadela outcrop of the Point Thomas Formation. They are an evidence for the presence and diversity of terrestrial vegetation in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. The forests were composed mostly of Podocarpaceae– Araucaria – Nothofagus , with an undergrowth of hygrophilous and thermophilous ferns, and grew on volcanic slopes and surrounding lowland areas of King George Island during breaks in volcanic activity. The succession that crops out at Cytadela provides a record of changing climatic conditions from a warm and wet climate with extensive vegetation to a much drier climate with limited vegetation and ubiquitous weathering of volcanic bedrock. The geochemical indices of weathering (CIA, PIA and CIW) have narrow and relatively high value ranges (76–88), suggesting moderate to high chemical weathering under warm and humid climate conditions. The decrease in humidity and the decline in plant life through the succession can be related to the gradually cooling climate preceding development of the Oligocene ice cover across the Antarctic continent.
Observations of the surface of the Petuniabukta tidal flat showed the occurrence of dead forms indicating a relative lowering of the sea level. Under the silt deposits of the tidal flat a gravel-clay series was found to occur. Connecting this series with the glacial till covering the lowest marine terrace and with the erosion pavement in the lowest part of the outwaśh plain gave rise to the hypothesis that there might be a record of glacier oscillation. By dating a sample taken from the gravel series substrate, the age of the oscillation was estimated at less than 6370+/- 120 years BP.
Isolated and fragmented jaws, a single basioccipitale and vertebrae of the Gadiformes, indeterminate family and genus, are described from Eocene sediments of the La Meseta Formation, Seymour Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Based on the dentition and other characters of both jaws they are assigned an informal name of „Mesetaichthys". The remaining isolated bones belong probably to the same form.
Among the numerous modern, high-efficiency energy technologies allowing for the conversion of chemical energy of coal into electricity and heat, the Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFC) deserve special attention. These are devices that allow, as the only one among all types of fuel cells, to directly convert the chemical energy contained in solid fuel (coal) into electricity. In addition, they are characterized by high efficiency and low emission of pollutants. The paper reviews and discusses previous research and development works, both around the world and in Poland, into the technology of direct carbon fuel cells with an alkaline (hydroxide) electrolyte.