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Strange 525 Million Year Old Fossil Baffles Scientists (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Aug, 17 2005 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally found in 1979, the fossil of Vetustodermis planus has recently been the source of controversy in the scientific world. The fossil was originally classed as a member of the annelid family (earthworms, leechs etc) but has now been argued as being closer to arthropods (spiders, crabs etc) or molluscs (snails, shell fish etc). The problem is that the Cambrian era fossil does not fit exactly into any existing phylum (largest biological group sharing similar traits). Some scientists argue that the fossil warrants the creation of a completely new phylum.
 



news.bbc.co.uk


A strange 525 million-year-old fossil creature is baffling scientists because it does not fit neatly into any existing animal groups.

The animal, from the early Cambrian Period, might have belonged to a now extinct mollusc-like phylum, academics from America and China say.

Other researchers have suggested the creature could represent an early annelid or arthropod.

Details are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The 5-10cm-long (2-4 inch) fossil, from Anning in China, had a flattened body and horizontal fins which, researchers think, could have been used to support it as it moved along the sea floor. It also had well developed senses, including a pair of eyes on stalks.


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The creation of a completely new phylum would be a very rare occurance indeed. Im not surprised some scientists are resisting the call to create a completely new phylum for a single organism.

The wonders of this natural World will never cease to amaze me. We can search the stars all we like and wonder at whats out there, but the most interesting discoveries may lie yet undiscovered right here on Earth.

[edit on 17/8/05 by subz]




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