Roadworks near Grahamstown lead to discovery of fossils
Wednesday, 01 June 2016, 09:22
Blasting and excavation for roadworks near Grahamstown has unearthed a treasure trove of fossils dating back millions of years.
NATIONAL NEWS - Blasting and excavation for roadworks near Grahamstown has unearthed a treasure trove of fossils dating back millions of years.
According to paleontologist, Dr Robert Gess, the discovery a fortnight ago is significant as many species have not yet been documented or described in academic literature.
Gess, a heritage consultant for the SA National Roads Agency Limited, said they found a number of invertebrates and excellently preserved plant fossils of the Devonian era.
The fossils were found during blasting for the new portion of the N-2 between Grahamstown and Fish River on a Sanral road construction site.Gess, a scholar at the Albany Museum, said the fossilised remains are of life in a marine coastal environment when South Africa was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, some 360 million years ago.
According to Dr. Gess, the plant and invertebrate fossil discoveries are from ancient open river mouth ecosystems. "It differs from the fossil discoveries of the closed lagoon ecosystem of Waterloo Farm, an important South African palaeontological heritage site of the late Devonian period which is 20 kilometres away from the current excavation site where SANRAL is working.
"The discovery is significant as paleontological research and scholarship on marine ecosystems of the Devonian period was primarily anchored in the fossil discoveries of Waterloo Farm. Now, we are able to trace a much broader picture of life along an ancient coastline through the discovery of new plant and invertebrate species."