The 890 million-year-old fossil of the sponge may be the oldest animal on Earth


nail structures fossils is similar to sponge, located in the northwest of Canada And they lived in oceans Do you 890 million years, it can be remains From Oldest way of life animal known in a land, according to study Posted on Wednesday.

it’s a Discovery questions theory, established over decades, that the animals appeared in a land Just after, after that Atmosphere and the oceans received a large injection of Oxygen.

Sponges are simple animals whose origins were lost in the mists of time.

Genetic analysis of modern sponges indicates that their likely appearance occurred between 1 billion and 500 million years ago.

But so far they have not been discovered fossils of sponges from that period, known as Neoproterozoic.

the biggest

Elizabeth Turner, a professor at Canada’s Laurentian University, searched for these fossils in the geological layers of 890 million-year-old coral reefs, reefs “made” by bacteria that deposit calcium carbonate.

Calcite microstructures reveal the protein structure of an ancient sponge.

The researcher identified tiny tubular structures containing contemporary reef calcite crystals, which are very similar to the skeleton found in modern sponges.

If this discovery, Published in the magazine natureIt has been confirmed that the age of these fossils will exceed by about 350 million years what remains of the oldest animal remains known to date.

Perhaps the most primitive animal that appeared in the process of evolution was the sponge. Which is not surprising because sponges are among the simplest in the animal tree of life.”

If it is confirmed that the fossils that the scientist found, barely a centimeter long, were sponges, then those first traces of life lasted about 90 million years, until a sufficient level of oxygen accumulated on Earth for the emergence of more complex animal life, in the Neoproterozoic.

If my interpretation is fair, the early animals … tolerated relatively lower oxygen levels than current conditions.”


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