Palaeontologists have discovered a new fossil species called Cloudina carinata, a small fossil with a tubular appearance and one of the first animals that developed an external skeleton between 550 and 543 million years ago. The discovery is documented in Precambrian Research.
The fossils were found in the archaeological site El Membrillar (Badajoz), one of the few sites in Europe where the remains of Cloudina can be found. "The specimens display exceptional preservation, they appear preserved in three dimensions, and show their original form and numerous details of the shells", lead author Iván Cortijo says. "Cloudina carinata is characterized by its elaborate ornamentation and complexity of the shells and tube that are formed when inserted."
The discoverers say the fossils show evidence of asexual reproduction which was previously found only in Chinese specimens of Cloudina", and are some of the "oldest
examples of reproduction in animals in the fossil register."
The discovery of new species of Cloudina is important "for understanding the early evolution of animals," as well as "the origin of skeletons," says Cortijo. Despite the fact that its relation to other groups of animals is uncertain, Cloudina has been compared to cnidaria (medusas and corals) and annelida (polychaeta sea worms, earthworms and leeches).
Study of fossils from the Ediacaran period (between 630 and 540 million years ago) and of other fossils from the early Cambrian (540 million years ago) reveals the path followed by evolution at a crucial moment in the history of life, when the first animals appeared. This first evolutionary radiation of animals reached its apex in the so-called "great Cambrian explosion" or "Big-Bang of evolution".
In the '70s specimens of Cloudina were discovered for the first time in Namibia and later they were discovered in Oman, southern China and the south-east of the USA. According to scientists, it is a fossil indicative of the terminal Ediacaran, which marks the end of the Proterozoic eon, and gives way to the Phanerozoic, when the great radiation of animals began.
Citation: Cortijo et al., 'A new species of Cloudina from the terminal Ediacaran of Spain', Precambrian Research, January 2010, 176(1-4), January 2010, 1-10; doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2009.10.010
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Hugh Hefner's Wife Was Not Poisoned By Breast Implants
- Why An Extra Planet Can't Be Hidden Behind The Sun Or Above The South Pole
- SYRINA: A Trojan Horse For Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?
- The Daily Physics Problem - 5
- Why Has Organic Farming Flatlined?
- The Daily Physics Problem - 2
- The Daily Physics Problem - 4
- "No, because the whole thing is smoke and mirrors, it's impossible. If anyone says there's a planet..."
- "There was that recent NYT piece that showed we passed peak CSA too. It's perfectly fine to hand..."
- "Is nibru coming in July???..."
- "Charles, yes they have found several dwarf planets beyond Neptune. And dozens of smaller objects..."
- "I read the first paragraph and that is pretty objective. Obviously true as well. Critical thinking..."
- Opercular index score: A novel approach for determining clinical outcomes in stroke
- Cataclysm at Meteor Crater: Crystal sheds light on Earth, moon, Mars
- Workforce processes prior to mechanical thrombectomy vary widely, new study finds
- Male frogs have sex on land to keep competitors away
- Cord blood outperforms matched, unrelated donor in bone marrow transplant