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舊 2007-04-07, 05:47 PM   #1
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註冊日期: 2004-05-16
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Tiny fossil is rare discovery

sgvtribune.com

Anglerfish swam oceans 15 million years ago
By Bethania Palma, Staff Writer

AZUSA - Scientists this week announced the discovery of a 15-million-year-old anglerfish in land being graded for a housing development.

The fossil was found in the fall by a team of field technicians for Cogstone Resource Management Inc., a company hired by the city to monitor the development site for archaeological and paleontological artifacts and fossils, said Carol Nosches, chief operations officer for Cogstone. It was found on land of the former Monrovia Nursery, which will become Rosedale, said Bill Holman, vice president of planning and community development for Azusa Land Partners LLC, the project developer.

The remains of the anglerfish is one of only a handful like it in the world, said Gary Takeuchi, curatorial assistant for the department of vertebrae paleontology at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.

"It's extremely rare," Takeuchi said. "They're rare because bones are not well glued together, and it's very easy for them to fall apart."

Takeuchi said intact fossilization of any species is uncommon because the bodies of dead animals are often scavenged or destroyed by natural processes.

Because anglerfish are so delicate, he said, conditions had to be just right to preserve the fish. Takeuchi said the fossil is less than two centimeters long.
"It has to be a situation where it died and settled down to the bottom," he said. "Sediment had to settle over it very quickly, but no too quickly," or the fish would have been destroyed by the force. Sherri Gust, president and lead paleontologist for Cogstone, said the company's scientists surveyed the area before development began and knew by the sediment deposits there would be fossils there.

"We found lots of fish," Gust said. "We called it the fish hill."

Most of them, however, were herrings, in bits and pieces.

Gust said anglerfish, which derive their name from an appendage that serves to lure prey, typically live under 1,000 feet of water. She explained that when the now-fossilized anglerfish was alive, Southern California were deeply submerged under the Pacific Ocean.

But the anglerfish find drew surprise and excitement from city officials and scientists.

"I knew immediately what it was," Takeuchi said, upon identifying the fossil. "I had to calm myself."

He said less than 20 similar fossils have been found since the 1970s, in Southern California and Europe.

This is not the first time the Rosedale project has unearthed a historic discovery. In December 2006, hundreds of pieces of prehistoric artifacts were found at what was an ancient village known as Ashuukshanga, where the Tongva/Gabrielino Indians lived.

Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha said that as part of the agreement between the city and the developer, the city has the first right of refusal on any archaeological or paleontological discoveries uncovered during construction.

"They belong to the families of Azusa," he said. Rocha said the city does not yet have a permanent place to display fossils, a topic city of officials are discussing.

"It's a tremendous find," he said. "In our little town of Azusa. That's wonderful."

PREHISTORIC: A 15-million-year-old anglerfish fossil was found at the former Monrovia Nursery, which is now the Rosedale housing project. (Photos courtesy of Cogstone Resource Management Inc.)
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