The fossilized remains and traces of the first multicellular creatures
The first multicellular organisms lived in the seas about 2.1 billion years ago. Previously, scientists believed that they were only 600-650 million years ago.
In Gabon, paleontologists have discovered the remains of an ancient multi-celled beings that lived in the seas about 2.1 billion years ago. Their photographs have been published in the journal PNAS on 11 February.
“About this time occurred one of the most important events in Earth’s history, the Great oxygen catastrophe. We have been arguing about if they might be connected. Our fossils, despite the discrepancies with the geneticists, I can say in favor of these relationships,” said Donald Canfield of the Center for the study of the evolution of the Earth in Odense (Denmark) and his colleagues.
Scientists believe that life could appear on Earth three billion years ago, but the first 2.5 billion years of its existence it spent exclusively in the unicellular form.
The first multicellular creatures supposedly appeared only 600-650 million years ago, during the ediacaran period. About their lives, almost nothing is known, as an almost total absence of remains.
Unusual structures found in the rocks of the Paleoproterozoic era, which formed around the city of Mansville about 2.1 billion years ago, attracted the attention about six years ago, when scientists from the University of Poitiers discovered there are many quaint structures, like the imprint of bodies of multicellular animals.
The discovery has caused a lot of controversy. Some of our colleagues considered the findings of the French paleontologist traces the “normal” bacterial colonies with unusual shapes, while others denied their organic origin.
Despite the criticism, researchers continued to conduct excavations on the territory of Gabon.
Over the years they’ve found several new prints of various supposedly “multicellular” creatures, similar in shape to the filaments and sheet-like structures.
Two years ago, Canfield and his colleagues were lucky – they managed to find not only eight of the dozens of fossils, but traces of their movements on bacterial “blankets”, ustilimsk then the bottom of the shallow waters in the primary ocean of the Earth.
Examining their structure and chemical composition, scientists have shown that leaf fossils do contain traces of organic substances, characteristic for the eukaryotes, multicellular inhabitants of the Earth.
“It is not clear whether these organisms are a prelude for the further evolution of eukaryotes, or a failed experiment, has not received continuation. On the other hand, in any case they say that complex life forms appeared over a billion years before the first true animals appeared in the late Neoproterozoic”, – underline paleontologists.
Scientists have found the oldest terrestrial organism
Earlier it was reported that in Antarctica during the exploration of subglacial lake Mercer, scientists have discovered a huge number of remains of living organisms.
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