“These soft-bodied creatures that lived 558 million years ago on the seafloor could, in principle, have had mouths and guts — organs that many palaeontologists argue emerged during the Cambrian period tens of millions of years later,” said Mr Bobrovskiy from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
“Our discovery about Dickinsonia — and many other Ediacaran fossils — opens up new possibilities as to what they actually looked like.” P1 Ediacara biota were strange creatures that lived on the seafloor 571 to 541 million years ago. They grew up to two metres long and include the earliest known animals as well as colonies of bacteria…
Mr Bobrovskiy said Dickinsonia had different types of tissues and must have been a true animal, a Eumetazoa, the lineages eventually leading to humans. Paper. (paywall) – Ilya Bobrovskiy, Anna Krasnova, Andrey Ivantsov, Ekaterina Luzhnaya, Jochen J. Brocks. Simple sediment rheology explains the Ediacara biota preservation. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0820-7 More.
The researchers found that the way the body was preserved does not rule out it having features associated with a true animal: “Now we know that what we are looking at is an impression of a soft organic skeleton that may have been anywhere within Dickinsonia’s body. What we’re seeing could be a part of Dickinsonia’s bottom, the inside of its body or part of its back.”
Associate Professor Jochen Brocks commented, “These fossils comprise our best window into earliest animal evolution and are the key to understanding our own deep origins.”
Yes, in the sense that sudden emergence rather than a long, slow Darwinian process seems more likely all the time. If his team is right, they just pushed the emergence of another true animal further back before the Cambrian explosion.
See also: Gunter Bechly: Dickinsonia Is NOT Likely An Animal (September 2018)
Rob Sheldon: How We Know The 558 Mya Animal Dickinsonia Remains Really Contained Fats
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