A new fossil site from the lower Ordovician period has been discovered in southern France. The site contains some of the richest and most diverse fossils from this time period. In total, 400 well-preserved fossils dating back 470 million years were found in Montagne Noire and analyzed by scientists from the University of Lausanne and the CNRS.
The area where the fossils were discovered was close to the south pole during the Ordovician, offering a rare glimpse into polar ecosystems of that time. The fossils are incredibly well-preserved, with shell-like components and soft tissue fossils such as digestive systems and cuticles. The fauna present at the site include arthropods, cnidarians, algae, and sponges.
The discovery sheds light on how organisms responded to extreme climate conditions in the past, providing valuable insight into a possible future under climate change. The high biodiversity of the fossils suggests that the area was an ancient refuge for species escaping hot conditions further north. Eric Monceret and Sylvie Monceret-Goujon, two amateur paleontologists who discovered the site, have been prospecting and searching for fossils since their twenties. They were amazed by their discovery and understood its importance.