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World's oldest animal footprints discovered


Posted on Thursday, 7 June, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments

The tracks are very small and difficult to see. Image Credit: Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology
Scientists have found the fossil footprints of a creature that walked the Earth 541 million years ago.
Dating back to the period just before the Cambrian explosion (when most complex animals first appeared), these ancient tracks represent the earliest known evidence of animal appendages.

The tracks were found in the Dengying Formation near the Yangtze Gorges in China.

"Animals use their appendages to move around, to build their homes, to fight, to feed, and sometimes to help mate," said geobiologist Professor Shuhai Xiao from Virginia Tech University.

"It is important to know when the first appendages appeared, and in what animals, because this can tell us when and how animals began to change to the Earth in a particular way."

The footprints are so small that they can only be seen by tilting the rock slabs at certain angles.

"The key challenge is to get the lighting right so that the fossils stand out against the background, because the fossils have very low relief," said Xiao.


Source: Sky News | Comments (5)

Tags: Footprints

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 7 June, 2018, 17:29
Wonderfully fascinating.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Carlos Allende on 7 June, 2018, 18:55
And basic primordial lifeform or no, that's pretty respectable Keep-on-Truckin gait.
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 7 June, 2018, 19:20
Nice find !!
Comment icon #4 Posted by bison on 8 June, 2018, 3:17
Amazing that something that old was moving about on legs. The fauna of the Ediacaran period is generally thought to either be fixed in place rather than mobile, or crawling like a worm. Perhaps some unexpectedly early ancestor of Hallucigenia, from the following Cambrian period, a worm-like creature which could move about on seven pairs of long legs. Whatever it was that made these tracks, it seems to signify that complex, mobile forms of life got a significantly earlier start than expected. The powers of life continue to amaze. https://www.theverge.com/2015/6/24/8838169/hallucigenia-worm-foss... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer on 8 June, 2018, 14:42
Great find!  I guess we can rule out Bigfoot.


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