520 million year old arthropod fossil could restructure the history of arthropods

It is not uncommon for time durations like thousands of millions of years to be associated with fossils that are unearthed across the face of the earth every year. Very recently, images of an arthropod that existed more than 520 million years ago flashed across the cyber sphere, exciting waves of interest among those who like to keep abreast of the latest from the world of science and wildlife.

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Know the mother of allanimals!

The fossilized remains have undergone thorough research and analyses, and the teams of researchers have already disclosed that these remains are of what is known as megacheiran and categorized as a fuxhianhuiid, a marine arthropod. These remains were discovered at the Chengjiang fossil site, which is in the south eastern regions of China. A report by Zoe Mintz of International Business Times talks about how the team of British and Amercan researchers were able to find a well-developed and pronounced central nervous system of the fossilized remains of the creature, by using multiple scans.

The Huffing Post also covered the story, and presented some more facts about the fascinating creature. It is supposed to have had primitive limbs below its head. The nervous system referred to above is being regarded as an exhibit of the earliest nervous systems possible. It extends past the head. It is also believed that the arthropod used its limbs to push food stuffs deep into its mouth. The arthropod family includes insects and crustaceans, and the results of studies conducted on the newly found fossil could help experts shed more light on the evolution of the entire family.

How it all happened?

Ortega-Hernández and his team of fossil hunters were looking for their treasures in Xiaoshiba, a region that has always been famous for unearthing fossil remains, when they found these remains. Whereas such fuxhianhuiid fossils have been found in the past also, all of them have been with the creature having its head down. In such cases, the delicate little internal organs of the creatures are obscured by shells. However, the fossilized remains found by the team were such that the creatures had flipped before the process of fossilization took over. This makes the discovery more momentous for the fraternity of researchers.

In all likelihood, these creatures spent their time crawling across the face of the sea bed, looking for food here and there. The possibility of these creatures being able to swim across short distances also can’t be ruled out. Although these are extrapolations, the talks are that these creatures would themselves have evolved from worms having well developed legs are already doing the rounds of the news and research world. So, the discovery has a lot of weight in letting experts connect the dots, and creating new dots as regards the evolution of complex arthropods, and their predecessors. In a statement shared with LiveScience, Ortega-Hernández said that these fossils could help humans find out a lot about how the most primitive animal forms existed. All through the past decades, most of the effort has been about finding out whether plants and animals were different branches of living form existence, and filling in the details as the researchers found from different fossils. Ortega-Hernández termed this fossil’s finding as ‘an important one’ in the quest of knowledge.

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Nicholas Strausfeld, senior author of the study that documents the findings, comments that the kind of nervous system found in the fossilized creature resembles that of modern day’s scorpions. Also, the research gives comprehensive evidence for researchers to conclude that mandibulates, a broad set to which crustaceans belong, and chelicerates were two different evolution tracks, right from 520 million years back in time.

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