The ancestor of all animal life, including humans, was found in fossils from Australia. The tiny, worm-like monster had an opening on the front and one in its back, using a gut in between. It likely burrowed in search of material that was edible from the ocean floor. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See BGR’s homepage for more tales. Researchers analyzing fossils from Australia have discovered what they think is the oldest known ancestor of animal life on Earth.
Described as a”tiny, wormlike creature,” it was essentially a fleshy small tube that did little more than eat and poop. That description may hit a little too close. The discovery, which is the subject of a new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows some key information about the monster that we could trace our ancestry to. The worm-ish organism was called Ikaria but what it lacks in a flashy name it constitutes by being, well, nearly completely unremarkable.
This monster lived some 555 million decades ago, and signs of the moves had been found as far back as 15 years. However, finding the very small burrows the pint-sized animals left scientists with all the difficult tasks of figuring out who made them. Researchers leaned heavily to inform them what the animals looked like without finding fossils of these animals themselves. Employing 3D scanning technology to make a digital model of the burrows, the researchers could create an instance of the creatures that occupied them.
They’re described as being no more than seven millimeters, and much less than three millimeters in diameter, even though they feature a characteristic crucial to the development of animal life: bilateral symmetry. It likely had a basic”mouth” and a rear opening, both attached to a central gut. There’s not a whole lot we know about it and it pooped, although it ate. It was, however, likely our ancestor, and its existence is a significant landmark in our planet’s history.
“We thought these animals have to have existed in this interval, but always known they would be difficult to comprehend,” Scott Evans lead author of the work, stated in a statement. “After we had the 3-D scans, we understood that we had made a significant discovery.” As for actually finding a fossil of I karia itself, chances are incredibly slim. Bones make fossil candidates that are great because they can persist for long periods, whilst flesh and tissue break down. The burrows made by these tiny creatures in the ocean floor sediment that was soft became frozen in time, while the creatures were lost.