On the territory of the Scottish lake Loch Torridonscientists have found a fossil of an ancient creature, which consisted of only two cells of different types. Its remains are so well preserved that researchers were able to study their insides and find out the exact age - a multicellular organism died 1 billion years ago. This is a big event for the scientific community for at least two reasons. First, the found organism is the missing link in evolution, that is, the creature that started the transformation of unicellular organisms into multicellular ones. Secondly, the remains were found in a freshwater lake, which suggests that multicellular organisms could have originated not in the salt waters of the seas and oceans, but in fresh water bodies. Since this is really such an important discovery, let's examine the results of the research conducted by scientists in more detail.
The first multicellular organism
About the amazing find and relatedthe discoveries were reported in the scientific journal Current Biology. Scientists managed to find the remains of one of the first organisms, which consists of not one, but two cells. Scientists have little doubt that they have found a creature that is intermediate between unicellular and multicellular organisms. Previously, scientists have already managed to find creatures that were in a transitional form between fish and tetrapods, amphibians and reptiles, and so on. This is a lot of work that takes a lot of time and a lot of luck.
The ancient creation was named BicellumBrasieri. At the moment, scientists do not know how the creature ate and what kind of life it led. What is clear is that it came from single-celled organisms that lived on our planet in the first billions of years - this period is just called the "boring billion." But when the first representatives of Bicellum Brasieri were born, organisms began to develop rapidly. This transition, judging by the age of the fossil, occurred about 1 billion years ago.
The find also hints that evolutionunicellular organisms occurred in fresh water. According to Professor Paul Strother, a billion years ago, genetic changes started in the simplest organisms in history, which led to the emergence of more complex living creatures. It is worth noting that earlier scientists managed to find the remains of other similar creatures of about the same age. But the structure of Bicellum Brasieri hints that it belonged to the Holozoa group, which includes all subsequent creatures that managed to survive and evolve further.
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The origin of life on Earth
As for the origin of life on Earth in general,this happened about 3.7 billion years ago. It is this age that the first chemical signs of life, which were found in Australia, have. But it should be borne in mind that in the course of other studies, scientists were able to find traces of living things about 4.1 billion years old. So it is possible that our planet became habitable much earlier than officially considered. The place of origin of life is considered to be geothermal springs - places where internal waters heated to about +20 degrees Celsius come to the surface. There was ample nutrients for the early organisms.
The first full-fledged animal on Earth is considered to beDickinsonia. She was a creation in the shape of a soft cake, which was somewhat reminiscent of a palm branch. It is believed that they lived on our planet about 560 million years ago and reached 1.5 meters in length. At the same time, scientists are inclined to assume that in the nature of those times there were also very small representatives of Dickinsonians several millimeters long. Also worthy of special attention is the fact that this creature appeared long before the Cambrian explosion, after which the process of the emergence of animals was very much accelerated.
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With all this, scientists still do not fullyit is known how exactly the origin of life on Earth took place. But the search for an answer to this question is ongoing and, step by step, researchers get to the solution. I recently published an article that our planet became habitable by a fluke. I advise you to read.