Oldest fossil record of animal life on Earth discovered in Canada? | Thread of fields | News | gallery

Many scientists believe that the earliest groups of animals on Earth include soft sponges or sponge-like organisms that are devoid of muscles and nerves, but which exhibit other characteristics of ordinary animals, including differentiated functions and spermatozoa. cells are included.

There is little scientific consensus or certainty about what is believed to be as old as a billion years ago, so other researchers will likely continue to investigate and debate Ms.

“I think he has a pretty solid record. I think it deserves to be published? It provides evidence for other people,” said David Bottzer, a paleontologist at the University of Southern California who was not involved in the research. .

Soft sponges difficult to fossilize

Scientists believe that life on Earth originated about 3.7 billion years ago. The first animals appeared much later, but scientists still do not agree on when.

By far, the oldest undisturbed fossil sponges date back to about 540 million years ago, during the Cambrian period. But scientists using the “molecular clock” estimate that the sponge may have emerged much earlier, about a billion years ago – although no physical evidence has yet been found to support this thesis. ‘Now.

“This will be the first time that a sponge fossil has been found before the Cambrian, and not just the first, but much earlier – that’s what’s most exciting,” Professor Cardenas said. Having said that the research confirms the conjectures of the molecular clock method.

Fossil evidence is scarce before the Cambrian, when animals first developed rigid skeletons, exoskeletons and shells, which are more likely to have been preserved in the ground.

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“These types of fossils belong to more complex animals – clearly there must be a narrative”, said the article’s author, Elizabeth Turner, as the first to emerge on Earth, such as sponges.

The dating to 890 million years ago is important because, if the sponge’s identity is confirmed, it would indicate that the first animals evolved before the time when oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean reached a level that scientists had never known as an animal. considered essential to life. . Yet recent research suggests that some sponges can survive on very little oxygen.

“Everything on Earth has an ancestor. It has always been predicted that the first evidence of animal life will be small and cryptic, a very subtle clue,” said Roger Sammons, a geologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who led the research. were not involved.

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Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

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