A creature resembling a jellyfish is the very first known living organism with a clear body structure.
A team of scientists have discovered a fossil of an ancient jellyfish that lived 560 million years ago near Leicester, England. Scientists believe that this is the very first representative of animal predators on Earth, and also this is the first such ancient creature with a clear body structure, writes the Daily Mail.
An ancient creature that resembles the body structure of a modern jellyfish was found in a fossil that is 560 million years old. This jellyfish was named after the famous British TV presenter and nature documentary maker David Attenborough – Auroralumina attenboroughii. By the way, this 96-year-old British journalist and writer still works for the BBC.
The very first predator on Earth, lived on the seabed, had an elongated body shape and many tentacles with which the animal caught other living creatures. The body length of this creature was approximately 18 cm.
“It is believed that modern groups of complex multicellular animals such as jellyfish appeared only 540 million years ago after the Cambrian explosion. This was a period of rapid development of life on Earth after the mass extinction. But this predator lived 20 million years earlier and this is the earliest creature since a clear body structure that we know,” says discovery author Phil Wilby of the British Geological Survey.
Scientists have discovered more than a thousand fossils of ancient animals, among which this find stood out. Scientists analyzed the radioactive mineral zircon in the rock surrounding the fossil to find out the age of the first predator on Earth.
The scientists say they've only been able to find one such fossil, but they think there might be more elsewhere. These fossils may hold the key to understanding when complex, multicellular life began on Earth. This ancient jellyfish belongs to a group of animals that includes modern corals, jellyfish and sea anemones.
“This is an amazing find, we see a clear body structure, the tentacles with which this animal captured its prey, as modern corals and sea anemones do. This creature is unlike any other animal from the same time period,” says Frankie Dunn from Oxford University.
According to scientists, it was as a result of the Cambrian explosion that the anatomy of different groups of animals fixed its shape for the next 500 million years.
As Focus already wrote, Scientists have discovered an ancient sea creature that lived on Earth 500 million years ago. It looks like a modern shrimp, but most importantly, it has a well-preserved brain.