The timeline of evolutions is not quite as we knew it by now. Scientists have recently discovered the oldest molecular sign of animal life. Surprisingly, this did not come from prehistoric bones.
The majority of the ancient animals that we know doe come from fossils that have been left after the Cambrian explosion, but now, the latest research shows that there have been some pretty bizarre animals that were living before them.
These did not leave behind bits or bines, but chemical evidence, according to the authors of the new Nature Ecology & Evolution study.
In this new paper, a team of international scientists has reported the discovery of a biomarker that was left behind by members of the Animalia kingdom between 660 and 635 million years ago. This is the oldest evidence that has ever been discovered.
The biomarker has been detected in ancient rocks and oils from Oman, Siberia, and India. This is a steroid compound named 26-methylstigmastane, which today is only known to be synthesized by a species of modern sponges called demosponges.
“This steroid biomarker is the first evidence that demosponges, and hence multicellular animals, were thriving in ancient seas as far back as 635 million years ago,” first author Alex Zumberge, Ph.D. said Monday.
Animals have been living here 100 million before the Cambrian explosion
The old sate of the steroid biomarker is really important because it shows that animals have been living on Earth 100 million years before the Cambrian explosion which took place 540 million years ago.
For quite a long time, experts used to believe that any organisms that lived before this were simple individual-celled creatures and now the theory completely changed.
The oldest known animal fossil, essentially a 558 million-year-old ribbed oval, was identified in September by the bits of organic material its body left behind.
These latest findings are suggesting that demosponges floated in Neoproterozoic marine environments and they existed 720 to 635 million years ago.
Rada attended the courses in the Faculty of Letters, Romanian-English section, and finished the Faculty of Theatre and Television, Theatrical Journalism section, both within the framework of Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Up till now, she reviewed books, movies, and theatre-plays, enjoying subjects from the cultural niche. Her experience in writing also intersects the IT niche, given the fact that she worked as a content editor for firms that produce software for mobile devices. She is collaborating with online advertising agencies, writing articles for several websites and blogs.