Have you ever wondered when and how did the first animals appear on Earth? Well, we humans have always longed for the answers. Researchers and colleagues from Uppsala University in Denmark have jointly discovered embryo-like microfossils up to 570 million years old. The study revealed that organisms of this type were dispersed throughout the world.
The study’s first author and a paleontologist at Uppsala University, Sebastian William says, ”We believe this discovery of ours improves our scope for understanding the period in Earth’s history when animals first appeared – and is likely to prompt many interesting discussions”.
Today there is substantial evidence that animals existed around 540 million years ago on Earth. This was when an event is known as ”Cambrian Explosion” took place. This event refers to the sudden appearance in the fossil record of complex animals with mineralized skeletal remains. Fossils of many animals from the Cambrian period still exist. At this point, no life yet lived on land; all life was aquatic. There are conflicting views among the research team on whether the fossils from that period could be classified as animals.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and Geological Survey of Denmark found that microfossils of animal eggs and embryo in the rocks that are 570-560 million years old. The discovery assured researchers the presence of significant complicated life in that era. Southern China’s Doushantuo Formation, which is around 600 million years old, revealed similar findings.
When these animals were alive, there was only one massive supercontinent called Rodinia; therefore, it could be said that these organisms were spread throughout the world. Scientists believe that this discovery provides opportunities to understand the evolution of first single-celled and multi cellular organisms, which eventually developed into the first animals and intelligent life.
Reference: ”Ediacaran Doushantuo-type biota discovered in Laurentia” by Sebastian William and John S. Peel, 6 November 2020, Communications Biology.