Earliest ever animal

Scientists at Edinburgh University think they may have discovered one of the first complex animals to have ever lived on Earth.

Their find shows that these creatures lived millions of years earlier than previously thought.

Fossils of the teeny marine animal, known as Namacalathus hermanastes, were found in Namibia, Southern Africa, back in 2000.

But the scientists who’ve been studying it think it could be the earliest example of an animal with a complex skeleton (similar to those you might find in today’s sea creatures). 

It was believed that the earliest known animals began life in the Cambrian Period541 million years ago – but we now know that the Namacalathus were thriving nine million years earlier in the Ediacaran Period, 550 million years ago.
 

Make sure you check out the ocean’s weirdest creatures!

 

The Edinburgh-led team studied perfectly-preserved fossils of the Namacalathus. They learned that the species had a rigid skeleton made of calcium carbonate – the same hard material that makes up the shells of sea creatures today.

“This fossil has been known for a long time, and was assumed to have been a primitive animal,” says geologist Rachel Wood, from Edinburgh University. “But 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.”

The Namacalathus had a ball-shaped body and long, worm-like stalk that it used to attach itself to the sea floor. Many of today’s animals could count the Namacalathus as their ancestors – cool!

Creatures before the Namacalathus were primitive beings like sponges and coral that don’t have skeletons.

The discovery has changed scientists’ belief that most major animal groups evolved during the Cambrian Period.

Do you have a favourite prehistoric animal? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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COMMENTS

  • peanutbutterjellytime

    so weird!

  • shellfish

    I love Fossiles

  • zaynab

    nice

  • mathew4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444

    Awsome

  • mikey123

    i think the story was good nd a good way to learn

  • PotatoTurtle_

    Noice

  • Gogocoolj

    Very fun

  • Dinoslasher

    This goes beyond my brain I thought 400 million years ago was the start of life.

  • toothless8

    MY fave prehistoric animal is an domernus rex there awsome

  • timmy

    cool bro

  • Maxinemarianesleta

    Awesome

  • KILLER4545

    clever

  • Calum James

    Iguanadon

  • A2

    Cool

  • Happyangel4567

    Awesome

  • 1379

    This taught me a lot???

  • Pool

    Cool

  • Laughing_donkey

    I tend to prefer unicellular organisms, but if I had to go for an animal I would probably say one of those things that look like fish but arent proper ones yet.

  • mc_coolyo

    EPIC!

  • Gracetiger

    Weird but cool and interesting I wonder if theres anything older with a skeleton!!!!

  • EEDDAA

    THAT IS SO COOL I LOVE IT

  • Ozzy

    Lamest thing I have ever seen in my entire life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lolApic 2222

    THAT.IS.AMAZING.

  • Sruth

    That was amazing

  • Oscar-2-cool

    Intresting, but i would like to know a bit more

  • Squid-lover

    Wow! Thats old!

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