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650-Million-Year-Old Fossils Are Earliest Animal Life, Scientists Say

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posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 01:08 PM

Fossils of what could be the oldest animal bodies have been discovered in Australia, pushing back the clock on when animal life first appeared on Earth to at least 70 million years earlier than previously thought.

The results suggest that primitive sponge-like creatures lived in ocean reefs about 650 million years ago. Digital images of the fossils suggest the animals were about a centimeter in size (the width of your small fingertip) and had irregularly shaped bodies with a network of internal canals.

The shelly fossils, found beneath a 635 million-year-old glacial deposit in South Australia, represent the earliest evidence of animal body forms in the current fossil record. Previously, the oldest known fossils of hard-bodied animals were from two reef-dwelling organisms that lived around 550 million years ago.

It is absolutely amazing how this planet preserves such relics, especially given the fact that our planet is constantly changing. If fossils such as this are being found, by accident even, then what else could there still be worth finding? It's finds like this that will allow breakthroughs on a plethora of different fields.

Anyway, I find this kind of thing to be extremely interesting and hopefully, it can lead to advances in understanding who we are and where we come from.


[edit on 18/8/2010 by ArMaP]

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 01:46 PM
reply to post by airspoon
Hiya Airspoon. Last year I posted a thread (bombed) about chemical fossils being discovered from 635 million years back. The Fox article in your link has based its story on the same findings. One of the links is from February 2009...2 days before the thread.

It's the second time in a week MSM have been caught posting articles that are no longer news. If they've been caught in two instances, how many more happen every day?

This is the old thread...Life on Earth: Millions of Years Older

Some of the links content...

Traces of animal life have been found in rocks dating back 635 million years. The evidence takes the form of chemical markers that are highly distinctive of sponges when they die and their bodies break down in rock-forming sediments.
BBC February 2009

NatGeo: Earliest Animals Were Sea Sponges, Fossils Hint February 2009

I don't know how much the sci-tech/nature journalists get paid per article. I don't know if they're on holiday with family and posting stuff from a hard-drive folder? It's an interesting occurrence and something I noticed last year when the science websites posted something that was years old. They seem to poach each other's story and assume the previous article has been sourced and researched.

One thing's for sure...I want to be a niche journalist for the's money for old rope

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 01:58 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Although it sounds the same, I don't think it is. The FOX News article suggests that the report was just published a couple of days ago (though it could be a finding on the old discovery). Furthermore, I believe that these fossils were found under Ice (though it doesn't say where), while the fossils in that old BBC article were found in Oman.

None the less, they are both (if they are different) interesting. I'll do some more research and see what we get.

As far as the MSM republishing certain "stories", I hear ya. I have noticed that before but mainly when they want us to refocus on something other than the scandal in the forefront.


posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:52 PM
reply to post by airspoon
It looks like it's the same discovery by the same people as last year. They've possibly had the findings published in Nature Geoscience according to this...

Princeton University geoscientists Adam Maloof and Catherine Rose happened upon the new fossils while working on a project focused on the severe ice age that marked the end of the Cryogenian period 635 million years ago. Their findings, published in the August 17 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, provide the first direct evidence that animal life existed before--and probably survived--the severe "snowball Earth" event known as the Marinoan glaciation that left much of the globe covered in ice at the end of the Cryogenian.
Animals Appeared Even Earlier

Original source article is here

They both refer to the August edition of Nature, but the contents page isn't showing it....Nature: August table of contents

I'm likely being too cynical or suspicious. It's possible their research has taken this long to go through peer review.

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 06:04 PM
Seems those crazy mayans were right after all.

Google Video Link

[edit on 18-8-2010 by zroth]

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 06:11 PM
reply to post by zroth

That's really cool!
Second line.

posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 08:03 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Your right. I'm just not getting the discrepancies in the location of the find. I don't think that Oman has any substantial ice, not even in a glacier.

I do however know that there is an outcropping of rock in Oman, where the rock dates back 650,000,000 years or so and therefore went through the alleged "snowball Earth". Maybe that is the discrepancy, solved. The FOX News article didn't give too much information, as usual. They are most likely only catering to their brain-dead viewers.


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