Rare fossils discovered by amateur in Tassie quarry

Martin Laan stumbled across a set of 1.2 billion-year-old fossils while collecting slate to re-tile his front door. He noticed that the stone he?d gathered from the quarry in Balfour was marked with a strange pattern, and began turning the stones face-up so he could return to them.

“I recognised they were bedding planes that had been laid down under the ocean and wondered how the marks could be in these trails,” Laan told The Mercury.

Laan?s discovery was brought to the attention of an expert who noticed the fossils on Laan?s front patio and told him they looked similar to the ?String of Beads? fossils in Western Australia.

To corroborate the fossils? origin, Laan contacted Mineral Resources Tasmania geologist Clive Calver who confirmed the fossils were incredibly old and incredibly rare, found in only two other places on the planet.

“The extraordinary thing about these is that they’re about 1.2 billion years old and they’re much older than rocks you would normally see fossils in,” Dr Calver told The Mercury.

After writing a paper on the fossils, Calver donated the specimens to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Calver believes the find could well be the fossilised remains of seaweed, although he admits he can?t be certain.

“Probably the honest answer is that we don’t really have a clue what sort of plant or animal they are,” he said.

Honorary curator of paleontology at the Tasmanian Museum Dr Don Squires told the paper that the fossils were extraordinary ? as were the remarkable circumstances of Laan?s discovery in the quarry.

“Had Martin not had the initiative to take it from an observation to contacting someone who could say yes or no, I think these could have gone undiscovered if he hadn’t picked them up,” Dr Squires said.

Source: The Mercury Tasmania,

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