From the Pasadena Star-News in the USA:
Ancient anglerfish fossils discovered at Rosedale
By Bethania Palma, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/07/2007
PREHISTORIC: A 15-million-year-old anglerfish fossil was found at the former Monrovia Nursery, which is now the Rosedale housing project.
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 vertebra[t]e 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.” …
“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. …
“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.
Tooth from an extinct Orthacodus shark discovered at Barrington Quarry
February, 15 2010
A RARE sharks tooth which could be up to 55 million years old has been discovered in Crow Country.
The broken tooth is from an animal that was part of the Orthacodus family, an extinct group of sharks. It was discovered at Barrington quarry, and is the first of its type to be discovered in the UK or Europe.
A spokesman for the quarry said: “Orthacodus first appeared 200 million years ago and lived just after the dinosaurs, outliving them by 10 million years.
“They appear to prefer cool waters and so lived in the northern and southern oceans. Current evidence shows they existed in the areas near Peterborough and on the Dorset coast and now, Cambridge Greensand where Barrington Quarry is situated.”
Cambridge Greensand was part of the seabed 90 – 100 million years ago and is a deposit of silty green chalk with phosphate nodules restricted to the Cambridge area.
In the mid 19th century the area was actively quarried for the nodules which were used to make agricultural fertilizer and the green mineral, glauconite, from which the greensand gets its name, was used to dye military uniforms a khaki colour.
The tooth is currently being studied by David Ward, a retired Veterinary Surgeon who is interested in fossil sharks and it will be housed by the Natural History Museum in London.
Save the Delta smelt / Little fish plays major role in water crisis
By Union-Tribune Editorial Board,
Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
The Delta smelt is silvery fish generally 2-3 inches long and said to smell like a cucumber. People don’t eat it, and it has no other commercial value. But it would be hard to overstate its impact on the California economy and on the livelihood and lifestyles of millions of people from the agricultural Central Valley to urban San Diego.
The state Department of Water Resources announced Friday that it anticipated being able to deliver 15 percent of the water that contractors have requested for this year. That was an increase from the 5 percent projected earlier, but, if it remains unchanged in the final allocation announcement to be made in late spring, will be the lowest allocation percentage in the history of the State Water Project.
At about the same time on Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said agricultural contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive 30 percent of the water requested from the federally controlled Central Valley Project. That was a welcome increase from the 10 percent they received in 2009, but still significantly short of the 40 percent many had hoped for.
The tiny Delta smelt is hardly the only factor involved in these depressingly low water projections. Years of natural drought and efforts to protect other Delta fishes, particularly Chinook salmon, are also significant factors. But it is the minnowy smelt that probably more than anything else has come to symbolize the crisis that has led to the fallowing of millions of acres of Central Valley farmland, unemployment of 40 percent in some valley communities, and severe water cutbacks all the way south to San Diego.
The smelt is endangered under California standards. It is threatened under federal standards, though a federal finding of endangered status is pending. The import of the declining numbers is that they are a key scientific barometer of the environmental health of the vast Delta.
As powerful pumps move water through the Delta to send to the Central Valley and to Southern California in the early spring when the smelt and salmon use the Delta as spawning grounds, a certain number of them get caught in the pumps and are killed. Federal and state scientists and regulators gather up any of this “salvage” each week, make broader complex calculations and, if necessary, impose restrictions on the amount of water the pumps can push – restrictions that can grow increasingly more severe as more dead fish are found.
The first level of restrictions was imposed due to salmon kills in January, then briefly lifted and quickly reimposed after six dead Delta smelt were found.
The Southern California Water Committee, a nonpartisan partnership of private and public water interests, estimates that, just since Jan. 1, more than 300,000 acre-feet of State Water Project water has been lost due to the restrictions. That’s enough water to supply 2.4 million California residents for a year.
So does all of this make the little Delta smelt our enemy? Quite the opposite. Healthy numbers of Delta smelt mean a healthy Delta and a healthy amount of water for us all.
Long live the Delta smelt.
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