Re: Out of order fossils

Keith B Miller (
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 21:29:32 -0600

Karen wrote:

>Does anyone on the list know about these claims of Devonian insects?
>I read about finds of centepedes, arachnids, and insect remains preserved
>in exquisite detail in Devonian rock form upstate New York, "similar to
>modern forms" (Science News 123:356-357, June 4, 1983) -- have these been
>found to be contamination?

I attended SUNY Binghamton as a masters student where two of the
researchers who discovered and described these fossils taught. The fossils
represent some of the earliest known terrestrial arthropods and insects in
the fossil record. They are neither the results of contamination nor "out
of order." The earliest terrestrial arthropods accompanied the movement of
the earliest vascular plants onto the land. As plants invaded the
terrestrial environment they brought a whole ecosystem with them.

I will have to search through my reprints to find the articles in which
these specimens were described. It has been a number of years and I forget
the details.


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506