Home / Science / Paleontologists find evolutionary links between Ediacaran and early Cambian multicellular animals | Paleontology

Paleontologists find evolutionary links between Ediacaran and early Cambian multicellular animals | Paleontology



Paleontologists have described the first three-dimensional soft tissue preservation in And Calathus wild animalsThe metazoan, a skeleton (multicellular animal) that lived about 547 million years ago (Ediacaran period) in present-day Namibia, has established a strong evolutionary link between Ediacaran and early Cambrian metazoans.

Namacalathus (individual number), size in centimeters.  Image credit: Shore et al., Doi: 10.1126 / sciadv.abf2933.

Namacalathus (Individual number) size in centimeters. Image credit: Shore And faculty., Doi: 1

0.1126 / sciadv.abf2933.

Until recently, little was known about the origins of animals that evolved during the Cambrian bombing due to the lack of well-preserved fossil evidence.

The mysterious origins of the animals that evolved at this time have baffled 19th-century naturalist Charles Darwin, often referred to as the Darwin’s dilemma.

Before, new studies have proven difficult to trace links to earlier animals because their soft tissues, which provide important clues about the animal ancestry, tend to collapse over time.

During his field work in Namibia, Professor Rachel Wood of the University of Edinburgh and colleagues unearthed the well-preserved fossils of And Calathus wild animals.

Using x-ray imaging techniques, they found that some of the animal’s soft tissues were preserved flawlessly within the fossils with a metallic mineral called pyrite.

Until now, paleontologists have identified only the skeletal remains of And Calathus wild animals.

Restoration of living Namacalathus: 1 - trunk;  2 - parent cups;  3 - daughter cup;  4 - hollow ciliated tentacles; 5 - spines;  6 - side lumens;  7 - middle compartment, 8 - inner skeleton layer, reinforced with  9-column microlamellar inflections - later internal (central) skeleton enriched with organic 10 - exoskeletal layers supplemented by columnar skeletal infiltration.Photo credit: J.Sibbick.

Rejuvenation Namacalathus: 1 – stem; 2 – parent cups; 3 – daughter cup; 4 – hollow ciliated tentacles; 5 – spines; 6 – side lumens; 7 – middle compartment, 8 – inner skeleton layer, reinforced with 9-column microlamellar inflections – later internal (central) skeleton enriched with organic 10 – exoskeletal layers supplemented by columnar skeletal infiltration.Photo credit: J.Sibbick.

Prof. Wood and co-authors then examined the soft tissues of Ediacaran and compared them with those in later evolved animals.

They found And Calathus wild animals It is the ancestor of the earliest creatures that appeared during the Cambrian explosion. Among them are prehistoric worms and mollusks.

“These are great fossils that give us a glimpse into the biological association of some of the oldest animals,” Professor Wood said.

“They helped us trace the roots of the Cambrian explosion and the origins of modern animal groups.”

“Such conservation opened new avenues for research into the history of life that previously was not possible.”

The study is published in the journal. Scientific breakthrough.

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AJ Shore And faculty. 2021 Ediacaran metazoan reveals the relationship of lophotrochozoan And take root in the Cambrian explosion Scientific breakthrough 7 (1): eabf2933; Doi: 10.1126 / sciadv.abf2933


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