Pompeii’s destruction enabled modern scientists to discover the sophisticated Greco-Roman city frozen in time. Just as we discovered Pompeii in the 1700s, scientists have discovered thousands of sea creatures buried alive on the ocean floor. Neville Hollingworth described the site located at the bottom of a quarry in England’s Cotswold Hills as a ‘Jurassic Pompeii’. The site itself dates to between 199.6 million to 145.5 million years ago.
According to Newsweek, the site includes the fossilized remains of many Jurassic-era echinoderms, which include starfish and sea cucumbers. They, like the dinosaurs, were killed off by an unknown and terrible natural calamity.
These creatures didn’t even get a chance to escape. Even sea urchins, which can crawl out of muck, were stuck. Everything perished where it was living, said Neville Hollingworth according to a news statement released by the British Natural History Museum on July 21.
Scientists on the scene have provisionally classified the tragedy as a mudslide. What we have is something very indicative of a tremendous mudflow, said the museum’s curator, Zoe Hughesduring an interview with BBC. “We have this lovely little ecology, and then something awful occurs." Whatever it was, it covered everything in its path in thick mud, preserving the remains of its victims for ages.
Indeed, the site has produced some of the best-preserved echinoderm specimens ever discovered in the United Kingdom. The crew has discovered water lilies, brittle stars, feather stars, and sea urchins in addition to starfish and sea cucumbers. They also hope to uncover many new species among them.
Ewin and his colleagues are especially thrilled about the sea flower and feather star fossils they’ve discovered, many of which are totally intact. Sea lilies and feather stars, which are members of the crinoids family, are so infrequently preserved that the museum only has 25 partial examples in its collection. According to the announcement, the researchers discovered “several" intact specimens at the location. Given the bounty available, there will very certainly be more to come.