The Enigmas on Mars 06a
Fossil Evidence on Mars?
Page Two
One of the points made by several skeptics is that "Fossils don't just lie around on top of the ground..."

This statement is quite false and any fossil hunter will laugh at that comment. The image above is taken from Barton-on-the-Sea, England where the constant action of the water washes the fossils out of the ancient clays of the cliffs... and quite literally they are "just lying around".  This despite the thousands of Earthlings hunting them and picking up specimens in a heavily populted area...

Now the image below from Mars is on a wind swept plain, not a water eroded beach. However the huge fossil fields of the Gobi Desert are a better example of wind erosion. The fossils are a much harder and more stable material than the host rock and therefore will survive in the open quite well, literally millions of years, while the sandstone or clay that holds them is soft and easily broken down and swept away by wind and water.

Image Courtesy Nasa/JPL
Gobi Desert
The Case For Martian Fossils
Yes, they really are just laying everywhere, in certain areas...

Here are two independant sources from those who have actually visited the Gobi Desert fossil rich fields in Mongolia...

Yes, they really are just laying everywhere, in certain areas...

Fossil hunting in the Gobi Desert.

We visit an area of the Gobi nicknamed the "Flaming Cliffs" after the red color of the rock there. In the 1920s, a man named Roy Chapman Andrews led an American expedition to this area, unearthing enormous complete skeletons and the first known set of fossilized dinosaur eggs.

A Mongolian paleontologist takes our group us around the site and shows us how to look for fossils. Paleontologists say that, compared to other places, searching for fossils in the Gobi is ridiculously easy. Most of the dinosaurs buried there were consumed in sandstorms, and the sand compressed into sandstone. Every year, erosion causes new areas to be uncovered, so in the right places, one can find chips of fossilized bone just lying on the surface

- Chris Miksovsky

Guillermo Rougier hunts for early mammal fossil in Mongolia's Gobi Desert - Source

Considering the fact that Mars was once covered in massive oceans as evidence now proves, it is incomprehensible to me that we WOULDN'T find some fossil evidence in the sediments
- Zorgon

From Previous Page
The Skulls
"Diapsida Skull"

Now this one has to be by far one of the best pieces of evidence of past life on Mars... nostril holes, eye sockets and beak... (Named by us)

Gilmoreteius Skull

This specimen was found in the Gobi Desert fossil fields

Spirit Rover Sol 1144
The Case for Turritellas
This image was brought to our attention by ArMaP, A member of ATS
posted on 30-3-2007 @ 11:45 AM (ID:3074123

The source of the images is the set taken by Spirit Rover on Sol 1144

"I have found a "critter" too!
See in this image (above - click for full image), it looks like a hand or a paw trying to get from under the rocks in the middle of the image, to the right.

But that does not mean that I think it is a fossil or even a living creature, but that I find this rock even stranger than the others, I really do." - ArMaP

To help ArMaP retain his composure and explain the "hand" or "claw" we hope the following clips will help. Though unfortunately we cannot get away from the "fossils" In the following images we will use clips from both the black and white version and the color version which ArMap says represents close to true color...

Sol 1144
The Case for Turritellas
posted by TheBorg, a member of ATS on 30-3-2007 @ 08:39 PM (ID:3075433

"Now, you cannot tell me that that "rock" there was formed by any known natural formation process. Should anyone be able to explain how such a thing could have come about, I'd be VERY anxious to hear what it is." - TheBorg

There is one possible explaination on how those "rocks" formed... Fossil Turritellas, a type of conical winding gastropod very common on Earth. Follow me now as I point out many possible Turritella type "fossils" in the images in this set. I will also post some Earth samples fro comparison. At the end I will value any comments...

Turrittela's on Mars?

The clipping at left is one of the best and clearest examples that I found in the image set. The color version best shows this "fossil" in detail.

This clip I highlighted the two samples
posted by Mike Singh, a member of ATS on 31-3-2007 @ 12:03 AM (ID:3075745

"Yeah! Strange.(the "claw") But what I'm more interested in your pic is this which I've enlarged. Check out the elongated portion on it's right as well as the rectangular stripe running over the top. Looks like a weathered ancient machine part to me!! "- Mike Singh

Those conical shapes are again consistant with Turritella's...

The conical spirals are very clear in this clipping. These two specimens are just below ArMaP's "hand"
The conical spiral of a "Turritella" specimen in the center, with an interesting hexagonal piece beside it. This one is above and to the right of the "hand"
Erisocrinus Eelevatus

Hexagonal Fossil on Earth...

Below is another image of fossils "just lying around" on Earth. I like this one because like the image atthe top of the page, it shows rings with holes in the center, like we have seen in other Martian images...
Below is a very interesting one in respect to TheBorg's question on explaining the "hand" that ArMaP discovered...
Courtesy California State University
Turritella On Earth

Compare these conical spirals to the Martian clippings above... these are found on the surface weathered out ofthe host rock...

A single Turritella fossil to show detail of the spiral shape
A double set showing the tendency of these fossils to protrude from the host rock as they are eroded out of the stone....
This sample shows what a broken cross section would look like. Compare this to #1 on Mike's find above....
Meanwhile Back on Mars
Another obvious spiral specimen...
Looking just at this one section of the rock, it looks like literally hundreds of these "fossils" in a pile...
Still more...
Closeup of the host rock that contains our "specimens"...

The host rock in this British specimen looks remarably similar

Opportunity Rover Digs for Fossils
Sol 30 to Sol 33
The "Rotelli" Fossils

Some of the images containing the 'fossils' are listed below. Oportunity spent several days drilling in this area. Above I have highlighted several interesting areas as well as two drill marks.


NASA Opportunity Rover Sol 30 Microscopic Imager
NASA Opportunity Rover Sol 33 Microscopic Imager

One of the most famous anomalies talked about is the "Rotelli" fossil. It was found in these images and is one of the best case samples for life on Mars to date. It was called "rotelli" because of its shape, looking like rotelli pasta on Earth.

There are many other samples that we found in these images and a few are highlighted below... a "Rotelli" and a "Turritella"....

Three very good specimens of  "Turritella"....

According to NASA

A close-up of the Last Chance rock after it was RAT-treated reveals a tiny spiral-like object (red arrow), likened to curved macaroni, set in a texture that itself is "mysterious". The object may be a cutting artifact of the abrasion tool or it may be a natural, intrinsic component of the rock. Among speculatiions: it is a fossilized organism, but that view is quite tentative. However, some "optimists" are already claiming to see 'nebulous' evidence of other life forms. Visit this MER fossils website for a pictorial summary of such conjectures.


See Also: University of Ottawa, Canada
University of Arizona
A Comparison
    Credit: J. W. Schopf,
Despite this bombardment, very primitive life had already formed by 3.5 billion years ago. To the  left are microbacteria fossils of this age (used as the standard against which to judge the claims for microbacteria in the meteorite from Mars). (J. W. Schopf,

SOURCE: University of Arizona

Spirit Rover
Gusev Crater Sol 386
Lichen Like Fossil
Credit: NASA / JPL / USGS
Fossil Flower - Earth
Lichen - Earth
Mars Earth
Rovers spot strange shapes on Mars
Features were left behind by tools ... or were they?

Date: Feb 14, 2005
By Leonard David


A case in point: During Spirit's recent run in the Columbia Hills, the robot used its arm-mounted devices to poke and probe a particular Martian rock. One piece of hardware — the Rock Abrasion Tool, known better as the RAT — was on hand to expose fresh Martian rock.

The RAT utilizes a single diamond matrix wheel to scrape the rock surface. It does this ever so slightly and progressively to achieve a wanted depth. The abraded surface is actively swept clean by a brush to prepare it for scientific examinations.

Once the rock was worked over, Spirit’s Microscopic Imager went in for close-up looks at the results. And within the images, an odd feature could be seen, seemingly a pattern of something more biological than just rock.


"The first impression I got — based on the morphology alone — was how similar it looked to a common terrestrial foliose lichen. On Mars, however, as we all have learned from past experience, looks can be deceiving."  - Barry DiGregorio, a research associate for the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in the United Kingdom. 

"While I have not traced the precise path and geometry, it is suspected that the central ‘fuzzy’ patch is due to the Mössbauer placement onto a portion of the mosaic where brush bits had accumulated" - Stephen Gorevan, payload lead for the RAT on the Mars Exploration Rover project. 

Here is the original image (1 of 4)

Microscopic Imager Non-linearized Full frame EDR acquired on Sol 386 of Spirit's mission to Gusev Crater at approximately at approximately 13:10:11 Mars local solar time, Microscopic Imager dust cover commanded to be OPEN. NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS

SOURCE: NASA Spirit Rover Data: 2M160631572EFFA2K1P2936M2M1.jpg

Cyclomedusa on Earth
Click on Image to Enlarge

Cyclomedusa is a circular fossil of the Ediacaran biota; it has a circular bump in the middle and as many as five circular growth ridges around it. Many specimens are small, but specimens in excess of 20cm are known. The concentric disks are not necessarily circular, especially when adjacent individuals interfere with each other's growth. Many radial segment lines — somewhat pineapple-like — extend across the outer disks. A few specimens show what might be a stem extending from the center in some direction or other.

Cyclomedusa was originally thought to be a jellyfish (Sprigg 1947), but some specimens seem to be distorted to accommodate adjacent specimens on the substrate, apparently indicating a benthic (bottom-dwelling) creature.[2] The markings do not match the musculature pattern of modern jellyfish. The fossils have been conjectured to represent a holdfast for some stalked form — possibly an octacorallian, or something else entirely. Cyclomedusa is widely distributed in Ediacaran strata, with a number of species described. Alternatively, it was thought[citation needed] that the described species actually represent different modes of preservation for one organism or that several different organisms have been grouped together under one name as a form taxon.

It is now suggested that Cyclomedusa was a microbial colony (Grazhdankin, in press); D. Grazhdankin reinterprets the concentric rings and radial structures as comparable to those seen in modern-day microbial colonies exposed to homogeneously distributed environmental conditions.

Cyclomedusa is known from Neoproterozoic beds in Ediacara (Australia), Finnmark (Norway), Charnwood Forest (England), Olenek (Russia), North China, Newfoundland, Northwest Canada, Podolia (Ukraine), the Ural Mountains (Russia), the White Sea (Russia), and Sonora (Mexico). It is regarded as a member of the Ediacaran biota— a group of somewhat obscure organisms that thrived just before most of the modern multicellular animal phyla appeared. Cyclomedusa has no known relatives.

Opportunity Rover
Endurance Crater Sol 125

Microscopic Imager Non-linearized Full frame EDR acquired on Sol 125 of Opportunity's mission to Meridiani Planum at approximately at approximately 12:58:35 Mars local solar time, Microscopic Imager dust cover commanded to be OPEN. NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS 

Concentric circular arcs from Opportunity Sol 125 outside of Endurance Crater. About 2 mm in diameter. This one did not have the RAT abrasion of the surface, so the pattern is in the rock.

Here is the original image

SOURCE: NASA Opportunity Rover Data: 1M139283564EFF2829P2976M2M1.jpg

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