MOVE over, Dickinsonia. This 558-million-year-old creature was named the earliest known animal last year, but New Scientist can now exclusively reveal one that existed even earlier – by more than 40 million years. (paywall) Graham Lawton, “Exclusive: 600-million-year old blobs are earliest animals ever found” at New Scientist
Note: They are described at New Scientist above as “carnivorous comb jellies” but all known comb jellies are carnivorous so it will be interesting to learn more about what that “earliest known animal” was eating.
Last year, we learned Intro:
A strange soft-bodied sea creature that lived over half a billion years ago may have been the first animal species on Earth, fossil evidence suggests.
The first large complex organisms – known as the Ediacarans – appear in the fossil record about 570 million years ago, just before the Cambrian explosion of modern animal life. Their alien body shapes have created confusion over whether they were primitive animals, other complex lifeforms like lichen or giant amoebas, or failed experiments of evolution. Alice Klein, “Earliest known animal was a half-billion-year-old underwater blob” at New Scientist 20 September 2018
Finding fats has been taken as good evidence that these ancient life forms were animals. The expression “failed experiments of evolution” is curious. Was the tyrannosaur a “failed experiment” of evolution? Or just something that had its day and is gone because the ecology changed after the asteroid hit and that size of predator just wasn’t a part of it any more? Keep the file open.
See also:Fats recovered from Ediacaran fossil, 558 mya, shows that animals then were “large,” “abundant”
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