Surprise! Fossils in a flash

What the study of death, decay and ‘instant’ fossils is telling science about how life has evolved

By Douglas Fox, 17:59 PM May 15, 2014

Deep in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, a broad, flat tableland rises above the jungle. The earth here is cut by deep muddy gullies, overhung by twisted tree roots. Walk through a gully after a rainstorm and you sometimes find hard lumps of blue-gray rock. Gushing rainwater released them from the gully’s walls. Some rocks are vaguely fish-shaped. It’s as if a fish were wrapped, mummylike, in many layers of cloth, smoothing the form of its body into gentle curves.

Cut through one of the rocks ...

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