Whetstone Gulf Formation, Lewis County, New York
Currently these are the oldest known animal group to exhibit parenting behavior.
An extinct species of ostracod - a group related to crabs, shrimps and lobsters. It was described as a new species in 2014, following discovery and analysis of fossilized specimens found in New York state.
The remarkably well-preserved fossils are about two to three millimeters long, and suggest the animal was intact with a shell along with the delicate parts of limbs and embryos within the shell. The fossil was preserved in pyrite and was examined using X-Ray and CT Scan techniques.
Estimated to be about 450 million years old, the fossil was found with the eggs fossilized with the parent. The species was named after Lucina, the goddess of childbirth in Roman mythology, and incuba, implying the mother was incubating or caring for her eggs.
“The mother kept the eggs and the hatchlings in brooding pouches within her body until the young ones were big enough to go out on their own,” David Siveter, professor of geology at the University of Leceister, UK
*Siveter, David J.; Tanaka, Gengo; Farrell, Úna C.; Martin, Markus J.; Siveter, Derek J.; Briggs, Derek E.G. (2014). "Exceptionally Preserved 450-Million-Year-Old Ordovician Ostracods with Brood Care". Current Biology