A Tiny Discovery
Precambrian rocks usually do not contain fossils—these rocks were deposited before multicellular organisms were abundant and diverse and before animals had shells. However, paleontologists working in a remote region of Nevada have discovered an assemblage of exquisitely preserved Precambrian fossils.
In a recently published paper in the Journal of Paleontology, UNLV paleontologist Steve Rowland and alumna Margarita Rodriguez ('12 BS Geology), describe a new species of alga, the first from these newly discovered fossils to be formally described and named. The fossil is just a millimeter wide — the thickness of a dime — with segmented branches that are each about the diameter of a human hair.