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December 4 2012

Leech cocoon preserves 200-million-year-old fossil


Move over amber. When it comes to preserving soft-bodied animals through the ages, there's a newcomer in town: fossilised leech "cocoons".

The cocoons are secreted by many leech and worm species as mucous egg cases that harden and often fossilise. Almost two decades ago, Norwegian scientists found a perfectly preserved nematode worm embedded in the wall of a fossilised cocoon, but no one had investigated further.

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