November 28, 2022

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Our very distant ancestor is 575 million years old.  We know what he lived on

Our very distant ancestor is 575 million years old. We know what he lived on

Representatives of the Australian National University dealt with the so-called Ediacaran fauna, that is, organisms that largely disappeared from our planet before the so-called Cambrian explosion, a rapid increase in biodiversity. Although hundreds of millions of years have passed since Ediacaran animals were found on Earth, scientists have not been able to explain what these creatures ate.

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As it turns out, they ate bacteria and algae that came from the ocean floor. By the authors of the research published in Current Biology However, they did come to this kind of conclusion, analyzing fossils that contained traces of phytosterol molecules, which are fats found in plants. These particles provided valuable clues in explaining the last time the organism was known Kimberla. It looked somewhat like a snail, and also had a mouth and intestines, and digested food in a manner surprisingly similar to modern animals.

Kimberella is our distant ancestor representing the so-called Ediacaran fauna

Ediacarans are in fact the oldest fossils large enough to be seen with the naked eye, and they are the source for us and all animals that exist today. These creatures are our deepest visible roots.

explains Ilya Bobrovsky, lead author of the study

By the way, scientists hypothesize that algae, which are rich in energy and nutrients, could be a recipe for success for the aforementioned animals. It was of exceptionally large size. By contrast, Earth’s earlier inhabitants were typically microscopic, single-celled life forms.

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The samples used in the research were found in 2018 on the shore of the White Sea – an inland reservoir located in Russia. When analyzing these fragments began, scientists faced a certain difficulty: discerning the imprints of lipid molecules from Ediacaran animals, the remains of algae and bacteria inside these organisms, and decomposing algae from the ocean floor proved particularly difficult. Away Kimberla Scientists also looked at another animal called Dickinsonia. It reached a length of 140 cm and was devoid of intestines – unlike its predecessor, this organism sucked food through the body, rather than gobbling it up through the mouth.