A thought that had been extinct for nearly 30,000 years suddenly ‘showed up’ to get comfortable in California

A thought that had been extinct for nearly 30,000 years suddenly 'showed up' to get comfortable in California

Image of Simatio kuki clam discovered by marine ecologist Jeff Goddard (University of California, Santa Barbara) – Photo: Valentich-Scott

O ScientistThis species is called jackfruit Cymatio cookieIt was first discovered by marine ecologist Jeff Goddard (University of California Santa Barbara) in 2018 during a beach walk.

While searching for sea slugs and other invertebrates for research, Jeff Goddard suddenly noticed “two strange white spots.”

“They were only 10 millimeters long, nothing out of the ordinary, but when they stretched out their bodies and started waving bright white legs that were longer than their shells, I realized I had never seen this species before,” Jeff said. remember

Goddard, a marine ecologist, took some photos and forwarded them to Paul Valentich-Scott, a mollusk specialist at Santa Barbara Natural History. But even Valentich-Scott could not identify this cow. They need a role model.

But when Goddard returned to sea, they were gone. It took several months and several low tides before Goddard caught another small clam.

For years after that, they still couldn’t determine what species it was.

The mystery of the new species prompted scientists to search for it.

They found all the scientific literature from 1758 to the present day. During this intensive search, scientists found a picture of a fossil clam, painted in 1937, that looked exactly like the one caught today.

A thought that had been extinct for about 30,000 years suddenly appeared healthy in California - Photo 2.

This is a Cymatioa cookie fossil recorded in 1937 – Photo: Valentich-Scott

Edna Cook, a woman living in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles at the time, drew the specimen and classified it. Bornia Cookie (genus name now changed to) Cymatiova). This archaeological specimen is 28,000 to 36,000 years old, roughly the same time as the Pleistocene, when sea levels were deep inland.

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When Valentich-Scott compared the museum’s original specimen to the 1937 drawing of the fossil, he realized there was a perfect match. This is the same species of clam that marine ecologist Goddard found at Cape Naples off the coast of Santa Barbara.

“It’s not unusual to find something thought to be extinct, known only in the fossil record, alive and well, especially in a well-studied area like southern California,” Jeff Goddard said.

In a recent publication in the journal ZooKeysNo one knows what the turtle’s habitat is or why it disappeared from California but reappeared, scientists say.

One theory is that these “living fossils” have only recently returned to the area. Depending on the temperature of the sea, they migrate to different places as larvae.

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