Researchers find world's oldest primitive animal fossil in China

Researchers find world's oldest primitive animal fossil in China

A team of researchers have been able to find one of the oldest primitive sponge fossils in the Guizhou Province in southern China.

The team of Chinese scientists claimed that animals have been roaming the earth for at least 600 million years. The study showed that a well-preserved, rice grain-sized primitive sponge fossil was found from 600-million-year old rock.

Lead author Maoyan Zhu of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, a part of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the team found one of the world's oldest and most credible fossil record of primitive animal bodies.

Zhu said, “The discovery will help remove doubts as to whether animals have emerged on Earth 600 million years ago.”

The fossilized animal is more than 1.2 mm wide and 1.1 mm tall and shows multiple independent characters of modern adult sponges. The team used advanced imaging techniques including scanning electron microscope and synchrotron X-ray tomography to study the fossil. They said that the fossil has hundreds of thousands of cells and has a gross structure consisting of three adjacent hollow tubes sharing a common base.

The study was published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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