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Palaeontology

Dickinsonia is world's oldest known animal

By T.K. Randall
September 21, 2018 · Comment icon 12 comments

Dickinsonia has puzzled scientists for years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Verisimilus
A new study has cast further light on a mystery fossil that scientists say is as 'strange as life on another planet'.
Resembling a strange cross between a fungus, a lichen, a worm and a jellyfish, this peculiar organism was first described back in 1947 and has remained something of an enigma ever since.

Dickinsonia lived hundreds of millions of years ago on the sea floor and ranged in size from a few millimeters across to around half a meter. What's particularly intriguing about the species is that it was one of the earliest known organisms to move around rather than simply staying rooted to the spot.
Now in a new study, scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have managed to learn more about these peculiar organisms thanks to the discovery of additional Dickinsonia fossils with organic tissue preserved within the impressions left behind by the creatures' bodies.

"Scientists have been fighting for more than 75 years over what Dickinsonia and other bizarre fossils of the Ediacaran biota were: giant single-celled amoeba, lichen, failed experiments of evolution or the earliest animals on Earth," said study co-author Jochen Brocks.

"The fossil fat now confirms Dickinsonia as the oldest known animal fossil, solving a decades-old mystery that has been the Holy Grail of palaeontology."

Source: Live Science | Comments (12)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Dejarma 6 years ago
yeah, it is= thy decided the first name they came up with was a bit over the top, so they added the 'ia' on the end
Comment icon #4 Posted by Gecks 6 years ago
Well played
Comment icon #5 Posted by poohbear 6 years ago
  Dick in Sonia No further comment.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Seti42 6 years ago
Hey, The Life of Brian mentioned a Roman called Bigus Dickus. Now, if that (albeit controversial) historical documentary can say such a name without eliciting laughter, so can this article. Grow up, people.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Avalanche 6 years ago
Dickinsonia souns like some pr0n flick. There was a great am-football player called Dick Buttkus very close to biggusdickus.
Comment icon #8 Posted by mesuma 6 years ago
He has a wife you know.
Comment icon #9 Posted by jaylemurph 6 years ago
Ediacarian biota are weird ****. Almost exactly like what Lovecraft describes in places. --Jaylemurph
Comment icon #10 Posted by flying squid 4 years ago
Looked a little bit through the older threads, and stumbled upon this one. Well, this oldest known animal is perhaps named after Bruce Dickinson, singer of the Iron Maiden? 
Comment icon #11 Posted by 'Walt' E. Kurtz 4 years ago
Run to the hills 
Comment icon #12 Posted by flying squid 4 years ago
It would not be the first time some animals(living or dead) have been named in the honor of rock musicians.   - Achygnatha zappa (Frank Zappa, spider) - Hyla stingi (Sting, tree frog) - Pseudocorinna brianeno (Brian Eno, Afrotropical spider - Masiakasaurus knopfleri (Mark Knopfler, small dinosaur) - Anomphalus jaggerius (Mick Jagger, fossilized mollusk) - Ummagumma (Species of dragonflies named efter Pink Floyd album) -    


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