May 4, 2009--The oldest seahorse fossils discovered to date have been uncovered in Slovenia, including this two-inch-long (five-centimeter-long) adult female Hippocampus sarmaticus fossil (left, and in an artist's reconstruction, right).
The 13-million-year-old finds, which include the only known extinct seahorse species, are shedding light on how the naturally weak swimmers managed to disperse around the world.
Researcher Jure Žalohar of Slovenia's University of Ljubljana first spotted a fossil in the water as he was washing his hands in a stream after a jog.
Žalohar and colleagues were originally investigating fossil insects in this area, so finding the fossil seahorses was "completely unexpected," he said.
The findings appeared online April 17 in the French-language journal Annales de Paleontologie.
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