Features Tuesday, March 21st

Sir David Attenborough is a 430 million-year-old fossil from Herefordshire

Features Tuesday, March 21st

Sir David Attenborough is a 430 million-year-old fossil from Herefordshire

While Boaty McBoatface brought an equal measure of joy and shame at the British inability to take pride in credible achievements, there's a new moniker in town that might help us forget.

Sir David Attenborough is a 450 million-year-old crustacean. To be specific, it's a funky looking fossil discovered in Herefordshire that has just been named after the much-loved broadcaster. 

Sir David has had an ancient fossil, found in Herefordshire, named after him.

The Attenborough fossil - a distant relation of today's crabs and lobsters, was discovered in volcanic ash rock on the Welsh border. The 1cm long find is so well preserved (complete with eyeballs and antenna) it could help scientists figure out how ancient sea-creatures evolved helpful things like legs and lungs.

Professor David Siviter, from the University of Leicester, told the BBC the Herefordshire area where the fossil was found was "like an undersea Pompeii".

Dr Mark Sutton, of Imperial College London, said: "The fossil deposits in Herefordshire have given us a dazzling array of scientifically significant finds over the years, but none are more spectacular or exquisitely preserved than Cascolus ravitis.

"However, this fossil is not just a pretty face. This sort of data is gold dust as fossils of this quality can tell us things about evolutionary events hundreds of millions of years ago that we just can’t find out any other way."

In other words Cascolus ravitis holds the key... if the lock your picking is the evolutionary history of ancestors of modern crustaceans. Which, I think you will agree, is a noble cause.

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