Navigation Links
Geologist analyzes earliest shell-covered fossil animals
Date:10/22/2009

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) The fossil remains of some of the first animals with shells, ocean-dwelling creatures that measure a few centimeters in length and date to about 520 million years ago, provide a window on evolution at this time, according to scientists. Their research indicates that these animals were larger than previously thought.

John Moore, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth Science at UC Santa Barbara, and his collaborators, analyzed fossils from the epoch called the Early Cambrian. During this important time in the history of the earth, there was a tremendous diversification of animal life in the oceans. Many of the major animal groups that are still alive today appeared at this time, as well as many unusual groups that went extinct. In particular, the Cambrian marked the first widespread occurrence of animals with shells or other hard parts. Many of these early animals had complex external armors containing dozens to thousands of tiny pieces. When the animals died, the armor fell apart. From the resulting jumbled puzzle pieces, Moore and his research team discerned what the animals were like, and how they are related to other animals.

"In our study, we focused on a strange Cambrian creature, called Cambrothyra," said Moore. He explained that Cambrothyra fossils look like tiny jars or vases, a few tenths of a millimeter long. They have been found in only a few locations in central China. The research team collected rocks from China's Shaanxi Province and brought them back to the lab where they extracted the fossils from the host rocks.

"While some scientists once thought that each little jar-like structure of Cambrothyra was the shell of a tiny single-celled protist, our work instead supports the hypothesis that Cambrothyra was an animal, probably a few centimeters long, that was covered with an armor that was made up of hundreds of separate tiny, jar-shaped pieces," said Moore. "In particular, Cambrothyra seems to be related to another unusual Cambrian animal, the chancelloriids, which were attached to the sea floor and looked a bit like barrel cacti although they were animals rather than plants which suggests that Cambrothyra may have been a relative." Cambrothyra also shares similarities with a different Cambrian group, the halkieriids. This animal looked like a slug covered with armor. It traveled around the sea floor and thus may help support the idea that chancelloriids and halkieriids are closely related to each other, despite very different appearances.

Moore presented his findings at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Ore., today. He completed the work in collaboration with his advisor Susannah Porter, assistant professor in the Department of Earth Science at UCSB; Michael Steiner of the Freie Universitt, Berlin; and Guoxiang Li of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. University of Leicester geologists demonstrate extent of ancient ice age
2. Geologists map rocks to soak CO2 from air
3. Geologist who linked cosmic strike to dinosaurs extinction takes top prize
4. Sierra Nevada rose to current height earlier than thought, say Stanford geologists
5. Geologist decries floodplain development
6. UH team analyzes Hurricane Ikes effects on waterways, fish contamination
7. Plant fossils give first real picture of earliest Neotropical rainforests
8. Geobiologists propose that the earliest complex organisms fed by absorbing ocean buffet
9. IU discovers stone tools, rare animal bones -- clues to Caribbeans earliest inhabitants
10. Earliest animals lived in a lake environment, research shows
11. The life histories of the earliest land animals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Geologist analyzes earliest shell-covered fossil animals
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by Solution ... Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at a ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 ... RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, ... Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), ... Educational, Other) Are you looking for a ... sector? ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data captured ... engineering platform, detected a statistically significant association ... prior to treatment and objective response of ... potential to predict whether cancer patients will ... treatment, as well as to improve both pre-infusion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Baltimore biotech ... the Maryland Biohealth community in developing and issuing recommendations to grow Maryland's biohealth ... Innovation Hub by 2023. , The recommendations are contained in ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... Shirley, New York (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... therapy techniques in treating gait disorders, Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. announces the release of ... time music therapy has been joined with a biomedical system to aid in rehabilitating ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 16, 2017 , ... Clinical Supplies Management (“CSM”), ... as the company continues to grow. CSM has doubled in size over the ... executing an aggressive growth strategy. , Roger Gasper joins CSM as Chief Financial Officer. ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , ... life sciences and healthcare industries, is honored that Jay Crowley was ... in Brussels, Belgium. , Crowley played a crucial role in the development of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: