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Exceptionally well preserved fossilized worm embryo from the Cambrian period identified

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

In Hunan province in South China, scientists have been digging up fossils for many years at a limestone-rich site called Wangcun Lagerstätte—among those fossils found have been a large number of Markuelia hunanensis embryos, all dating back to the Cambrian period.

Prior research has suggested that such embryos strongly resemble adults, which has given researchers a good idea of what they looked like. In this new effort, the researchers have identified one exceptionally well-preserved fossil. Markuelia hunanensis were types of worms that lived approximately 500 million years ago, close to the same time that plants first began growing on land and when most animal groups first began to evolve. Their closest modern relatives are mud dragons.


 In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes the condition and attributes of the fossil, including muscle tissue and brain matter.


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