Sponge-like creature found in N.W.T. may be Earth’s oldest animal

CBC North – Researchers say they’ve found what may be the Earth’s oldest animal in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories. The primitive sponge-like creature, traces of which were discovered by paleontologist Elizabeth Turner and two other scientists, may well push back the earliest geological signs of animals by more than 200 million years. “We’re not looking at things that are as complicated as worms or even as complicated as sponges,” Turner, of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., told CBC News. “We’re looking at something that’s simpler than that. And that’s at the very junction between the earlier life forms that preceded animals and the lineage that became animals.”

Link to source

Link to abstract: “Early Neoproterozoic origin of the metazoan clade recorded in carbonate rock texture” (Geology, May 2009, 37(5):475-478).

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