Recently, proof of an ancient creature resembling a worm raises some questions. The creature is about the dimension of a grain of rice, lived approximately 555 million years ago, and has been discovered in South Australia. Scientists think it represents the first ancestor on the human and animal family tree.
It’s also classified as the oldest bilaterian, meaning that it had a front, back, and two openings on each head and a stomach that connects them. The ancient worm-like was an evolutionary path forward for early life on our planet.
Worm-like Is The First Ancestor for Both Animals and Humans
Some of the most ancient life on our planet, comprising those algal mats or sponges, is recognized as the Ediacaran Biota. This class is based on the oldest fossils ever found, offering proof of multicellular organisms.
But, as studies displayed before, those aren’t related to creatures nowadays. Establishing bilaterian body organization and structure favorably let life move in purposeful directions. Such a thing means all creatures from worms, dinosaurs to amphibians, and humans.
Researchers knew that for our common ancestor, it would be almost impossible to find any fossils, because of their tiny and soft bodies. But then, something quite peculiar was spotted.
The 555-Million-Year-Old Worm-like Creature Was Found in South Australia
Researchers found fossilized burrows from the Ediacaran Period, approximately 55 million years go, in the Nilpena region from South Australia. They knew already the tunnels were made by bilaterians, but they needed proof.
Mary Droser, a geology professor, and Scott Evans, a doctoral graduate, utilized a 3D laser scan. They spotted some impressions containing enough proof. A rice grain-sized, with noticeable V-shaped grooves, head, and tails were detected.
Signs of feeding and patterns of displaced sediment made the researchers determine it had a gut, mouth, and posterior opening. The creature has been dubbed Ikaria wariootia. Droser stated: “This is what evolutionary biologists predicted.”