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Found the oldest fossils of animals

The oldest fossils of multicellular organisms — sponges — found in the territory of the Green continent by Adam Maloof (Maloof Adam ) and his colleagues from Princeton. The discovery pushed back the existence of animals on the planet back centuries at least another 15 million years.

Recall that the earliest fossil of a “solid” body is considered Namacalathus (age 550 million years), soft — Kimberella (555 million). The current remains approximately 650 million years, which is even larger than previously found indirect evidence of the existence of sponges.

In a press release of the University scientists write that stumbled upon the fossils under a layer of glacial deposits by age 635 million years (and that’s the end of cryogenia ). It means that the animals survived the days of “Earth-snow” (we have been told about this period of the life of the planet).

Scientists are not yet sure at 100%, that they really fossilized biological material. The best evidence of the current findings in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience, could be new finds in the breed belonging to the same era (Photo by Adam Maloof).

“We were looking for drevneevreyskoe dirt and decided that in front of us. However, later it became clear that these ornaments are too often repeated,” says Maloof. Only to the second year of research, the scientists decided to test whether these spots are ancient organisms.

But to study the remains turned out to be not so easy. X-rays for the study findings did not fit. He can “share” materials with different densities, while the fossils are composed of calcite, not too different from rock. I had to act differently.

Three-dimensional models of two fossils were constructed using designers from Situ Studio company. For this series was removed by 50 micrometers of the sample and Photographed the cut. Then, the program has collected three-dimensional image. Watch the video (illustration Maloof lab/Situ Studio).

In the end, the scientists appeared objects of different shapes with many internal channels, very similar to a simple sponge. By the way, find the current complement new genetic evidence on the origin of sponges. (Read about the most ancient traces of living organisms and the old thumbprint was found on the land .)

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