A study conducted by a team of Egyptian scientists and a colleague from the University of Michigan showed fossils of newly discovered fish at a site in the Egyptian Eastern Desert, 322 km southeast of Cairo, bearing the name Ras Gharib A.
The study was published on May 17 in the journal Geology, and its results indicated that marine fish thrived in Egypt 56 million years ago, during the era known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). ), a period in which the Earth’s climate witnessed a rise in temperature similar to the current climate. Read also Amazing fossil of a bird-like dinosaur incubating eggs that is about to hatch The discovery of a site for the manufacture of salt on the coast of Britain dating back 6 thousand years“The Dinosaur Treasures of Morocco” .. How did the history of paleontology change forever?Technology and tangible cultural heritage .. How do archaeologists determine fossil sites?
Climate of the Paleocene-Eocene العصر
The main author of the paper and the head of the research team is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, Sanaa El-Sayed Bassiouni, and she was previously chosen by Johns Hopkins University, among the most important female figures in the world in the field of paleontology.
“Geological studies are of great importance in understanding the history of climate change resulting from the concentration of greenhouse gases in the climate of the planet, as geologists and biologists are interested in studying the phenomenon of global warming throughout the geological history of the earth,” says the researcher, in communication with Al-Jazeera Net through social media. In order to understand the warming that our planet is currently experiencing, and to predict the behavior of future climate change and its effects on living organisms on Earth, we are studying the history of climate change through fossils.”
In this direction, the joint study – which was conducted by a team of Egyptian geologists with a colleague from the University of Michigan – focused on an era known as the Paleocene-Eocene period, a geological era that extends back to 56 million years ago.
During that era, the Earth’s climate witnessed a short period of extremely high global temperatures, which are often described as the best ancient counterpart to global warming at present, which enables scientists to formulate a future vision of the behavior and impacts of climate change.
Discover the first fish fossils
“Fish are among the organisms thought to be most sensitive to warming, ” says the University of Michigan fossil statement. Estimates.
Researcher Sana Al-Sayed says that “the rise in temperature leads to morphological and physiological changes, as well as changes in the environment, as fish migrate from their high-temperature environment to another suitable environment.”
And researcher Sana continues, saying, “Our study documents a group of fish fossils that were discovered for the first time in the southern hemisphere in a period of time, which is the Paleocene-Eocene period, as it is, unfortunately, all our information about the behavior of animals or organisms in global warming conditions.” It was only information from the northern hemisphere through fossils found in Europe or Asia. “
“We did not know anything about fish near the equator, as we did not have evidence of fish behavior in this period of time that witnessed a rise in temperatures,” she added.
Surprise of the Egyptian excavations
The research team had conducted a study on this area through 6 research trips that lasted about 6 years, and during these exploratory trips we found a discovery that was not previously known.
And it is that – at a time when the temperatures of the seas and oceans increased, and which witnessed the migration and extinction of some fish in different regions of the world, especially those located in the north of the globe – fish in Egypt were very prosperous and included the same groups of fish that lived in the north.
The surprise in the matter was that the fish did not migrate from another place, but it recovered and was able to adapt very well to the temperature that was present at that time.
Features of the scientific march
Before moving to complete her doctoral thesis, the researcher Sana Al-Sayed held the position of Deputy Director of the Mansoura University Center for Vertebrate Excavations, and worked as an assistant teacher in the Geology Department of the Faculty of Science, Mansoura University, Egypt.
She holds a master’s degree in vertebrate fossils from Mansoura University in 2017, and she has about 7 scientific papers in the field of vertebrate fossils published in a number of international scientific journals.
She worked as part of the scientific team to study the dinosaur Mansourasaurus, which was discovered in 2018 and published in the journal Nature Ecology.
It is also the recipient of a National Geographic Explorers grant to fund current research into the discovery of Egyptian fish fossils.