Jan 20, 2019 | Updated: 08:39 AM EST

600 Million Years Old Rocks Yields Fossils That Could Be The Earths Earliest Animals

May 08, 2017 02:49 AM EDT


A debate rages on after claims of discovering the remains of ancient fossils that are apparently the earth's earliest animals. While the 600 million years old fossils are quite informative, the scientific community is not totally sold out to the notion that these are the earliest animals. On the contrary, skeptics are saying that the fossils belong to a family of algae.

The University of Bristol presented some rocks which contained what is claimed to be the earliest animals. Even if these are embedded some 600 million years ago, the rocks are in pristine condition. At any rate, these specimens are a potential candidate to the beginning of molecular clocks which led to the evolution of the animal groups.

According to Dr. John Cunningham of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, it is very clear that the remains are of fully-grown animals. The features of some of these fossils are resembling the embryo while others are ranging from single cell organisms to clustered cells. Cunningham also claims that it is possible to identify the subcellular structures of the remains, even the possibility of nuclei, according to Phys.org.

Meanwhile, Cunningham's colleague, Dr. Kelly Vargas admits that there is a catch to the claim of earliest animals. The team failed to discover any fossil in its adult form. The identity of the supposed animals could not be ascertained so the paleontologists have to rely on the cellular anatomy to place the discovery among animal groups.

It is a generally accepted idea among scientists that there should be a Y-shaped junction between cells to qualify as an animal. However, the deviation for the claim of earliest animals is also present among other groups. For example, the algae possess the trait in its multi-cellular construction. In fact, algae are thought to be a distant cousin of modern animals. As such, Cunningham argues that the fossils they discovered could have belonged to other groups.

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