Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

 

Stephen Hawking

 

Life forms 'went large' a billion years ago

RATE THIS! +43
Posted in Science on 18th May, 2016 11:51 AM by AlexMuller

The centimetre-scale life forms were preserved in mudstones from the Yanshan area in the country's north and are dated to 1.56 billion years ago. Fossils big enough to be seen by the naked eye became common between 635 and 541 million years ago. But the latest specimens are more than twice that age.

 

The findings by a Chinese-American team of researchers appear in the journal Nature Communications. The mysterious organisms from the Gaoyuzhuang rock formation appear to belong to the branch of life known as the eukaryotes, which today includes everything from single-celled amoebae to plants, fungi and animals.
 
The sea-dwelling life forms probably lived on the shelf areas of ancient oceans and bear a superficial resemblance to algae. They also appear to have used photosynthesis, the process by which plants, some bacteria and other simple organisms convert sunlight into chemical energy.
 
Prof Andrew Knoll, from Harvard University, a co-author of the paper, said the organism represented by the Chinese fossils was "large but I doubt that it was complicated - an important distinction".
 
He told me: "You're a good example of a complex multi-cellular organism because you have 250 cell types, dozens of tissues, different organ systems.
 
"On the other hand if you go to the beach you will find seaweeds that consist of a sheet of cells that are almost all identical. Most of them can either photosynthesise or be used for reproduction."
 
The team, including Prof Knoll and Shixing Zhu from the China Geological Survey in Tianjin, found that life in this ancient period had already developed a variety of forms.
 
Of 53 separate specimens, 26 (49%) were linear in shape, 16 (30%) were wedge-shaped, eight (15%) were tongue-shaped and three (6%) were oblong-shaped.
 
The marine organisms measured up to 30cm in length and up to 8cm wide. Some of the specimens revealed fine structure: a closely-packed arrangement of individual cells measuring about 10 micrometres long - which is the same as the width of cotton fibre.
 
Examples of multi-cellular life dating back more than a billion-and-a-half years have been described before. They include Horodyskia, which was shaped like a strings of beads, and Grypania, a coiled, ribbon-like organism. But the diversity of forms and the size of the fossils from Yanshan mark them out.
 
The researchers say the fossils are unlikely to be of agglomerations of bacteria known as microbial mats, and instead are probably early examples of eukaryotic organisms.
If so, the organisms suggest multi-cellularity was a feature of marine life a billion years before the so-called Cambrian explosion, a rapid evolutionary event that began 542 million years ago and resulted in the divergence of major animal groups.
 
Some scientists partly attribute this evolutionary flowering to a rise in oxygen levels, although the causes are the matter of continuing debate.
 
The findings also suggest that the preceding era, characterised by lower oxygen levels and sometimes referred to as the "boring billion", may have been misjudged.

Tags: biologynaturespeciesanimalsEarthbiodiversity

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-19
+1
With every significant new fossil many established hypothesis fall down and many new emerge! This reflects the fact that we now just a little about evolution of life forms Reply


 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Science on 2017-06-26 14:35:26
    France to ban all new oil and gas exploration in.....read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-06-26 14:23:06
    Varjo Promises Human-Eye Resolutions For VR This Year..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-06-26 14:17:14
    SpaceX Pulls Off Two Droneship Landings in Three Days..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-06-25 14:44:38
    Microsoft wants to make Direct Reality VR’s answer to.....read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-06-25 14:31:51
    UK's first heart pump targets 2018 clinical trial..read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Obesity is top cause of preventable life-years lost, study shows..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Light can be utilized to control gene function..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Brain stimulation restores memory during lapses, research shows..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Wax worm caterpillar will eat plastic shopping bags: New.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me