British researchers discover fossil of 'oldest animal predator'

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British researchers discover fossil of “oldest animal predator”

The fossil was found in Charnwood Forest near Leicester in central England.

The fossil of a 560 million year old creature ;years old, and which may be the very first animal predator, was named after British naturalist and scientist David Attenborough.

Researchers said on Monday that the specimen, which was dubbed Auroralumina attenboroughii, is the oldest known creature to have had a skeleton. It is akin to the group that includes corals, jellyfish, and anemones, they said.

Modern groups of animals, such as jellyfish appeared 540 million years ago during the Cambrian Explosion, said paleontologist Phil Wilby of the British Geological Survey. But this predator is 20 million years older.

He added that it is incredibly exciting to know that this fossil is one of those that may hold the key to when complex life began on Earth.

The fossil was found in Charnwood Forest, near Leicester in central England, where Mr Attenborough once searched for fossils. The 96-year-old man said he was really delighted with this tribute.

Researchers say the specimen is the oldest known creature to have had a skeleton.

Frankie Dunn of the Museum of x27;Natural History from the University of Oxford, explained that this specimen is very different from other fossils found in Charnwood Forest and throughout the world.

Like most other fossils from the Cambrian Period, Dunn said, this one clearly has a skeleton, and tentacles that twitched in the water to capture passing food, somewhat like corals and sea anemones do today.

The Cambrian Explosion occurred between 541 and 530 million years ago. x27;years. This is a gigantic evolutionary push that has seen the emergence of an enormous diversity of animals. Several creatures developed rigid components, like calcium carbonate shells, at this time.

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