The discovery of a very large, very mysterious ‘monster’ by an amateur Ohio paleontologist has researchers baffled and asking for answers.
Around 450 million years ago, shallow seas covered Cincinnati -- and harbored one very large organism. And despite its size, no one has ever found a fossil of this “monster” until its discovery by an amateur paleontologist last year.
The fossilized specimen, a roughly elliptical shape with multiple lobes, totaling almost seven feet in length was discovered by Ron Fine of Dayton, Ohio. He's a member of the Dry Dredgers, an association of amateur paleontologists based at the University of Cincinnati that has a long history of collaborating with professional scientists.
“I knew right away that I had found an unusual fossil,” Fine said. “Imagine a saguaro cactus with flattened branches and horizontal stripes in place of the usual vertical stripes. That’s the best description I can give.”
The Cincinnati region has been vigorously studied over the last two centuries, making the find even more impressive -- not only because it was the work of an amateur, but also because of its size.
“When I finally finished it was three-and-a-half feet wide and six-and-a-half feet long,” Fine said. “In a world of thumb-sized fossils, that’s gigantic!”
Other specialists have been unable to explain the mystery monster, they said. Fine presented his discovery Tuesday at a regional meeting of the Geological Society of America in his quest for answers