Fossils of some of the oldest creatures on Earth have been discovered

Paleontologists have found fossils of two creatures hitherto unknown to science, which are among the oldest living on Earth. Researchers estimate that the creatures swam in shallow waters about 580-540 million years ago.

These creatures come from a period called the ediacar, also called the wend or eokambar. This period lasted from about 635 to 540 millionów years ago, and it is from this period that the oldest multicomplex organisms known to science originateórkowe with the most famous Dickinsonian – a large, flat creature with an oval-shaped body.

To the representatives of the Ediacaran fauna, scientists from the University of California, Riverside, added two more. The first was named Obamus coronatus In honor of former US President Barack Obama. Researchers thus wanted to honor his efforts to promote science.

Obamus coronatus this disc-shaped creature. They ranged in diameter from 0.5 to 2 centimetersów, and had spiral grooves protruding from its surface. This animal did not move. Scientists believe it was embedded in oceanic mats – a thick layer of organic matter covering the bottom of the early ocean.

The second of the newly described creatures has been named Attenborites janeae in honor of English naturalist and journalist Sir David Attenborough in recognition of his contributions to the popularization of science. Attenborites janeae this tiny, egg-shaped raisin-like creature, whichóre, like the first of the new creatures, róIt also had protruding grooves on its back.

Discovery Obamus coronatus was described in „Australian Journal of Earth Science”. A paper on Attenborites janeae appears wkrótce of the same journal. ZaróFor both the first and second creatures, the research was led by Mary Droser, a professor of paleontology at the University of California, Riverside.

Both organisms were found in the region of the HillsóEdiacara row in GóFlinders rach in southern Australia. It is from these specimensórz took its name from the Ediacaran period. Numerous fossils of representatives of the Ediacaran fauna were found there, and it is one of several places in the world where similar specimens were found.

The fossils of these soft-bodied creatures are well-preserved in the sandstone, from which theórgo are built of hillsórza. They survived like this for hundreds of millions ofów years. "These Precambrian forms represent the dawn of animal life" – wrote the researchers. However, not much is known about creatures from this period. To date, about 50 genera ofóin ediacara creatures.

– The creatures we found have a completely different body plan, unlike anything that has been described. We’ve seen evidence of these animals for quite a long time, but it took us a while to verify that they were whole specimens and not part of another animal – said Droser.

Sourceóthorax and phot.: University of California Riverside. In the picture Obamus coronatus left, Attenborites janeae right.