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Huge treasure trove of fossils unearthed by roadworks

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Grahamstown – A huge treasure trove of fossils, including of some species that have not been documented by scientists before, has been discovered during construction work on the N2 highway near Grahamstown.

“A number of new invertebrates, as well as excellently preserved plant fossils of the Devonian era, have been excavated and discovered in rock debris of the Witpoort Formation along the N2 between Grahamstown and Fish River,” SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) environmental manager Mpati Makoa announced on Wednesday.

The trove was discovered during “controlled rock cutting explosions”.

Renowned paleontologist Dr Robert Gess, who does consulting for Sanral, said the discovery was significant because “many species have not yet been documented by paleontologists”.

The Devonian era lasted from about 416 million years ago to 354 million years ago, and is often referred to as the “Age of Fishes” because of the varieties of fish that were spawned during that time.

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