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The results are published today (27 August) in the journal Historically, the origin, evolution and spread of animals has been viewed as having begun during the Cambrian Explosion, a period of rapid evolutionary development starting 541 million years ago when most major animal groups first appear in the fossil record.
"However, in recent decades, discoveries of preserved trackways and chemical evidence in older rocks, as well as molecular comparisons, have indirectly suggested that animals may have a much earlier origin than previously thought," said Dr Alex Liu of Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences, lead author of the paper.
The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Burdett Coutts Fund of the University of Oxford, and the National Geographic Global Exploration Fund Northern Europe. "Animals first flex their muscles: Earliest fossil evidence for animals with muscles." Science Daily. Some of the earliest marine animals already carried their eggs, protecting the growth of their embryos.
This discovery was made by two paleontologists when they used advanced imaging techniques and ...
It was suggested in that brachiopods had evolved from an ancestor similar to Halkieriaa slug -like Cambrian animal with " chain mail " on its back and a shell at the front and rear end; it was thought that the fossil dating brachiopod converted its shells into a pair of valves by folding the rear part of its body under its front.
The planktonic larvae of articulate species do not resemble the adults, but rather look like blobs with yolk sacsand remain among the plankton for only a few days before leaving the water column upon metamorphosing.Stromatolites are formed when microorganisms, such as certain kinds of bacteria, trap bits of sediment together in layers.