UI construction uncovers fossils

UI construction uncovers fossils

A discovery in Iowa City is giving scientists a window into the past.

Construction crews doing work on a university building found some fascinating fossils of ancient coral reefs and the animals that live in it.

Fossils are like a time capsule created millions of years before for humans roamed the earth.

"It's a whole history in the ground beneath our feet of how Iowa and the world has changed over time," says Tiffany Adrain, Collections Manager at the UI Paleontology Depository.

During construction on the Seamans Center Annex at the University of Iowa, construction crews began finding pieces of fossilized coral reefs deep beneath the ground.

"It's kinda neat," says Dave Mellercker with Knutson Construction. "I mean you go down and you're digging up stuff that's been there for millions of years you know and each piece is a little bit different."

Dave adds he worked on the original Seamans Center 15 years ago and they found fossils then too but this time he took them to the University to find out more about them.

These fossils have a lot to say about life in Iowa 385 million years ago.

"There's probably half a dozen or more different animals fossilized in this particular rock," says Ryan Clark, Iowa Geological Survey Geologist.

When this fossil deposit formed, Iowa was a warm shallow sea making it a perfect place for the aquatic animals to thrive.

"Iowa was down by the equator so the conditions were very different from what we have today," says Adrain. "It's quite a nice reminder of what Iowa used to be like and how different the planet was."

Now samples of the fossils will be moved to the University's Paleontology Depository for research where they will again become part of Iowa's history.

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