Thursday, 28 December 2017

Ancient Jellyfish Embryos Curled Up Like Accordions

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | December 13, 2017 07:50am ET

A set of spherical fossils, each fossil tinier than a grain of sand, is not what it seemed.

For years, researchers mistook these 537-million-year-old fossils for the embryos of arthropods, the group that includes insects, spiders and crabs. Now, a closer look reveals they really belong to the ancestors of jellyfish. What's more, they developed in very different ways than modern jellyfish, said Philip Donoghue, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol in England.   

This case of mistaken identity came down to minuscule lines in the surfaces of the fossils, which originally seemed to be similar to the segmentation lines on arthropod larvae. Donoghue and his colleagues were trying to figure out how these segments grew when they inadvertently discovered the lines weren't larval segments at all.

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