On the News | UK | Oops! 600 million-year-old fossils thought to be the world’s earliest animals could simply be algae @ Daily Mail


On the News @ Daily Mail


Title: 

Oops! 600 million-year-old fossils thought to be the world’s earliest animals could simply be algae


Excerpt:

Ancient fossils that date back around 600 million years, were thought to be some of the world’s earliest examples of animal remains. Pictured is a scan of a spiny acritarch fossil. Image Credit: John Cunningham

“Ancient fossils that date back around 600 million years, were thought to be some of the world’s earliest examples of animal remains.

But a controversial new study claims that this may not be the case.

Researchers have re-examined the fossils, and believe that the remains could in fact be algae.

The Weng’an Biota are a group of well-preserved fossils in South China that were first discovered in 1998.

The fossils provide a snapshot of marine life during the time in which molecular clocks estimate that animal groups evolved.

Dr John Cunningham, from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and an author of the study, said: ‘Dated at around 600 million years old, these rocks preserve an assemblage of microscopic fossils, perfectly-aged to be candidates for the oldest evidence of animal life.

‘These fossils aren’t recognisable as remains of fully grown animals, but some resemble embryos, ranging from single cells to clusters of thousands.” (…) READ MORE

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)