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When the Days Really Were Shorter

bivalve fossil
(Image: © Wikipedia, Wilson44691 – Own work, Public Domain)

When dinosaurs still left fresh footprints on the mud, our planet twirled around faster than it does today. Chronicled in the rings of an ancient timekeeper is a story of days half an hour shorter and years a week longer than they are today, according to a new study.

That ancient timekeeper is an extinct rudist clam, one of a group of mollusks that once dominated the role that corals fill today in building reefs. The clam belonged to the species Torreites sanchezi and lived 70 million years ago in a shallow tropical seabed, which is now dry land in the mountains of Oman in the Middle East.

This ancient clam grew extremely fast from its home in a dense reef, creating a growth ring on its shell for every day of the nine years that it lived. A group of researchers analyzed the clam’s shell to get a snapshot of what time and life was like in the Late Cretaceous period, about 5 million years before the story of both the dinosaurs and these clams ended.

Full Story From Live Science 


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