From the University of Edinburgh:
Until now, the oldest evidence of complex animals – which succeeded more primitive creatures that often resembled sponges or coral – came from the Cambrian Period, which began around 541 million years ago.
Scientists had long suspected that complex animals had existed before then but, until now, they had no proof.
Genetic family tree data suggested that complex animals – known as bilaterians – evolved prior to the Cambrian Period.
The finding suggests that bilaterians may have lived as early as 550 million years ago, during the late Ediacaran Period.
The team studied fossils of an extinct marine animal – known as Namacalathus hermanastes – which was widespread during the Ediacaran Period.
The fossils are remarkably well preserved and reveal that the species possessed a rigid skeleton made of calcium carbonate – a hard material from which the shells of marine animals are made. More.
Journal reference here. Also:
Professor Rachel Wood, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “This fossil has been known for a long time, and was assumed to have been a primitive animal, such as a sponge or coral. This study suggests that it was, in fact, more advanced. We have suspected that these complex animals were present in the Ediacaran, but this study provides the first proof.”
Note to staff: Add to our stasis chart. When on Earth was there time for Darwin’s proposed history in which
It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, wherever and whenever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.
See also: Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen
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