Wednesday, February 8, 2012
First predator didn't even have square pants
From Nat Geo:
The creature, Otavia antiqua, was found in 760-million-year-old rock in Namibia and was as tiny as it may be important. "The fossils are small, about the size of a grain of sand, and we have found many hundreds of them," said study leader Anthony Prave, a geologist at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K. "In fact, when we look at thin sections of the rocks, certain samples would likely yield thousands of specimens. Thus, it is possible that the organisms were very abundant."
From these tiny "sponges" sprang very big things, the authors suggest. As possibly the first muticellular animals, Otavia could well be the forerunner of dinosaurs, humans-basically everything we think of as "animal."
The little critter persevered almost unchanged through those times, resisting along with algae and bacteria for roughly 200 million years, just before the Cambrian explosion, when Earth started to fill up with many different animals.
200 Million years without changing?! That is pretty incredible especially because if you saw a picture of me last year you'd wonder who the hell that was*.
Source -> http://www.sajs.co.za/index.php/SAJS/article/view/1064/1048 & http://www.iol.co.za/the-star/sponge-like-creature-may-be-oldest-animal-ever-found-1.1227656 & http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/120207-oldest-animals-sponges-earliest-science-evolution/ & http://gizmodo.com/5883539/you-come-from-this-thing-the-oldest-animal-ever-discovered
*Probably not true, but incredible regardless
Earlier links related to evolution: http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/10/i-love-puppies.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2012/01/worlds-smallest-vertebrate-discovered.html & http://www.dannyfinnegan.com/2011/09/dinosaur-feathers-trapped-in-amber.html