World’s Strangest

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Meet Otavia antiqua, Possibly the Ancestor of All Animals

looks like an insignificant spec of dust, but if scientists are right,
it could be the ancestor of us all.

Meet Otavia antiqua, a microscopic, sponge-like African fossil
that could be the earliest known animal:

The creature, Otavia antiqua, was found in 760-million-year-old
rock in Namibia and was as tiny as it may be important.

"The fossils are small, about the size of a grain of sand,
and we have found many hundreds of them," said study leader Anthony
Prave, a geologist at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K.

"In fact, when we look at thin sections of the rocks, certain
samples would likely yield thousands of specimens. Thus, it is possible
that the organisms were very abundant."

From these tiny "sponges" sprang very big things, the
authors suggest. As possibly the first muticellular animals, Otavia
could well be the forerunner of dinosaurs, humans-basically everything
we think of as "animal."

Read more at National Geographic: Link
(Photo: Anthony Prave/University of St. Andrews)

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February 11th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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