Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

U Alberta resets date of earliest animal life by 30 million years
by Staff Writers
Edmonton, Canada (SPX) Jul 03, 2012

File image.

University of Alberta researchers have uncovered physical proof that animals existed 585 million years ago, 30 million years earlier than all previous established records show.

The discovery was made U of A geologists Ernesto Pecoits and Natalie Aubet in Uruguay. They found fossilized tracks of a centimetre long, slug-like animal left behind 585 million years ago in a silty sediment.

Along with other U of A researchers, the team determined that the tracks were made by a primitive animal called a bilaterian, which is distinguished from other non-animal, simple life forms by its symmetry-its topside is distinguishable from its bottom side-and a unique set of 'footprints'.

The researchers say the fossilized tracks indicate the soft-bodied animal's musculature enabled it to move through the sediment on the shallow ocean floor. The pattern of movement indicates an evolutionary adaptation to search for food, which would have been organic material in the sediment.

The precise age of the tracks was calculated at the U of A by dating the age of an igneous rock that intruded into the siltstone in the area where the tracks were found. It took more than two years for U of A researchers to satisfy themselves and a panel of peer review scientists that the age of 585 million years is accurate. The dating process included a trip back to Uruguay to collect more samples of the fossilized rock and multiple sessions of mass spectrometry analysis.

U of A paleontologist Murray Gingras said when it comes to soft-bodied animals and their tracks it's not unusual for the animal's body to disappear but its tracks become fossilized.

Prior to the U of A find and age confirmation, the oldest sign of animal life was dated at 555 million years ago from a find made in Russia.

Kurt Konhauser, a U of A geomicrobiologist, says the team's discovery will prompt new questions not only about the timing of animal evolution, but also the environmental conditions under which they evolved. Konhauser explains that the challenge now is "to find out how these animals evolved to the point where they were able to move about and hunt for food."

The U of A's research team includes Ernesto Pecoits, Natalie Aubet, Kurt Konhauser, Larry Heaman, and Richard Stern and Murray Gingras. The research was published June 28, in the journal Science.


Related Links
University of Alberta
Explore The Early Earth at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Dinosaurs were warm-blooded reptiles
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Jul 02, 2012
The journal Nature has published a study analysing the lines of arrested growth (LAG) in the bones of around a hundred ruminants, representative of the specific and ecological diversity of that group of mammals. The results show that the presence of these lines is not an indicator of an ectothermic physiology (does not generate internal heat), as had previously been thought, since all warm-blood ... read more

ESA to catch laser beam from Moon mission

Researchers Estimate Ice Content of Crater at Moon's South Pole

Researchers find evidence of ice content at the moon's south pole

Nanoparticles found in moon glass bubbles explain weird lunar soil behaviour

Fireworks Over Mars: The Spirit of 76 Pyrotechnics

Martian moon Phobos could be life clue

Exhumed rocks reveal Mars water ran deep

Houston Workshop Marks Key Step in Planning Future Mars Missions

The Road to Space

NASA Unveils Orion During Ceremony

Boeing Validates Performance of CST Vehicle's Attitude Control Engine

Northrop Grumman's Modular Space Vehicle Completes CDR Process

China open to cooperation

China set to launch bigger space program

Nation has long way to go as space power

An inspiring mission

First Annual ISS Research and Development Conference in Review

Three astronauts land on Earth from ISS in Russian capsule

ISS crew rests before return to Earth

ISS Resupply Important to Kennedy's Past and Future

Three Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68A Engines Power Delta IV Heavy Upgrade Vehicle on Inaugural Flight

ULA Delta IV Heavy Launches Second Payload in Nine Days for the NRO

ATK Completes Software TIM for Liberty under NASA's Commercial Crew Program

MSG-3 Now Installed In Ariane 5

New Planet-weighing Technique Found

Innovative technique enables scientists to learn more about elusive exoplanet

Dramatic change spotted on a faraway planet

New Way of Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres

Body scanner takes tailoring to the masses

H.K.'s SCMP editor under fire as press freedom 'shrinks'

Apple pays $60 mn to end China iPad trademark row

Now Everyone Can Build a Satellite Like NASA: Online!

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement