Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Was early animal evolution co-operative?

Date:December 6, 2015
Source:Uppsala Universitet

The fossil group called the Ediacaran biota have been troubling researchers for a long time. How do these peculiar organisms relate to modern organisms? In a new study, published in Biological Reviews, researchers from Sweden and Spain suggest the Ediacarans reveal previously unexplored pathways taken by animal evolution. They also propose a new way of looking at the effect the Ediacarans might have had on the evolution of other animals.

The fossil record of animals starts for sure by about 540 million years ago, but their origins before this point have remained obscure. Darwin himself worried about this problem at length in the "Origin of species." But after Darwin was writing, a famous group of fossils were discovered called the Ediacaran biota, named after a remote mine in South Australia where many were found. They are now known to be widespread around the globe from the interval of time just before the animal fossil record starts.

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