February 3, 2023

Traces of ancient creatures from 550 million years ago have been discovered

Scientists have discovered traces in China imprinted in the ground about 550 million years ago. These are the oldest animal prints in the fossil record ever found. Researchers believe traces were left by a primitive ancestor of modern insects or worms.

The valuable find was discovered in a rich fossil reserve in southern China, and represents the first proofód confirming that the ancient group of bipedally symmetrical animals also known as bilateral animals actually predates the so-called “bipedal” animals. Cambrian explosion of speciesów.

The footprints found in China have been dated by scientists as 551 millionów to 541 millionów years ago. It is hundreds of millions ofów years before dinosaurs appeared on Earth. The discovery is reported in the journal „Science Advances”.

Cambrian explosion, whichóra began around 541 millionów years ago, caused the relatively sudden appearance of róThe diverse forms of organismsóin multicomórkowych. According to the recordóin the fossil lasted about 25 millionów years. Earlier life on Earth consisted of simpler organismsów and it is believed that it was the Cambrian period that gave rise to more complex creatures.

Bilaterally symmetrical animals are those thatóhe bodies are characterized by bilateral symmetry of structure, openór mouth or anus. Bipedal symmetry evolved through the ability to move actively, which brought with it the development of anterior and posterior and ventral and dorsal parts. The group of bilaterals includes most animals – Molluscs, arthropods or string insects.

Strange-looking prehistoric tracks on valuable exhibit show two rows of footprintsów, whichóre resemble a series of repeated imprintsóin the nóg. Characteristics of the tracks indicate a bipedally symmetrical creature.

According to scientistsóin the footprints left by a primitive ancestor of wspóThe fact that modern insectsów or wormów, however, what exactly the creature looked like is a mystery. So far, nothing this old has been discovered with legs. Professor Shuhai Xiao, a geobiologist at Virginia Tech University and the head of theówny author of the publication said the discovery brings scientists closer to theóin to a creature thatóra was the first to develop a pair of nóg.

– We do not know exactly what animals made these imprints stóp, except that they must have been bipedally symmetrical animals. If we don’t find a fossil specimen of the creature next to similar tracksów, it will be extremely difficult to determine which animal is responsible for them – said Xiao.

Ancient traces have been found near fossilized burrows. This means that the mysterious animal may have periodically burrowed into sediments probably to obtain oxygen and food.

Newly discovered trace fossils – term, które refers to the fossilized remains of animals, not the fossils of the animals themselves – are among the earliest known evidence of theów on the occurrence of animals. To date, most scientistsów leaned toward the view that bipedally symmetrical animals first appeared during the Cambrian explosion.

Sourceósource: Live Science, Science Alert, The Guardian, photo. Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology