General, Research, Technology

What did the ancestor of all modern animals look like?

Do you know what unites 99% of the living creatures known today, including humans? They all have a feature known as bilateral symmetry - their bodies can be divided into left and rightparts that are practically no different. In addition, the body of most organisms existing today begins with the head and ends, no matter how rude it may sound, in the anus. Recently, an international group of scientists found in a stone rock the remains of an ancient animal, which was given the name Ikaria wariootia. It had the shape of a small worm the size of a rice grain and also has a bilaterally symmetrical body with a head, digestive system and anus. Researchers believe that it was from him that a large part of the living organisms that exist today.

What is it that turns out - a tiny slug is the ancestor of bears and many animals?

Bilateral symmetry - A feature of the structure of animals, in which they have a mouth and anus. 99% of living creatures have this feature, except those living underwater spongesmarine jellyfishmoving with tiny cilia ctenophore and colorless lamellar sea ​​animals.

In order are shown: sea sponge, jellyfish, ctenophore and lamellar animal

The most ancient ancestor of animals

A creature called Ikaria wariootia livedabout 555 million years ago, in the Ediacar period. Then our planet was inhabited by primitive creatures that lived in the water and led an almost immobile lifestyle. But the found animal, judging by its complex structure by the standards of those times, was very active. The length of his body ranged from 2 to 7 millimeters, and the width did not exceed 2.5 millimeters. The body structure of the ancient slug was symmetrical, in addition, scientists found signs of the presence of a mouth, digestive system and anus.

Ancient slug Ikaria wariootia in the representation of the artist

Discover the traces of so ancient and tinyThe animal was quite difficult. Scientists suspected of its existence during the study of an ancient rock located on the territory of modern Australia. Researchers noticed that some fragments of stones have small oval-shaped openings. All of them were of approximately the same shape and inside these minks, someone once clearly clearly crawled once upon a time. It turns out that while other creatures of the Ediac period lay motionless at the bottom, the slug Ikaria wariootia actively stirred muscles and was one of the most active animals of those times.

The remains of animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago are difficult to detect due to their lack of a hard shell

Ikaria wariootia is currently consideredthe first animal whose body structure had bilateral symmetry. Apparently, such a structure of organisms turned out to be so successful from an evolutionary point of view that it has survived for hundreds of millions of years. Once upon a time, this feature went to the first amphibian creatures, and then passed on to dinosaurs, monkeys, and, ultimately, even to us. As mentioned, today 99% of living creatures on our planet possess bilateral symmetry.

Traces of an ancient animal were found in one of Australia's rocks

Search for the remains of ancient animals

This discovery is very important and valuable.for the scientific community, because traces of animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago are rarely detected by paleontologists. And the thing is that in those days they did not have time to develop a hard shell. Therefore, scientists often study the stones remaining from ancient times, hoping to find traces of some organisms in them. Most often, as in the case of Ikaria wariootia, they notice minks left by extinct organisms.

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Recently, scientists have made many similar discoveries. For example, a skeleton was recently found in Canada elpistosteg fish, which became the first in the history of our planetthe owner of these fingers. It is believed that this fish used fingers to occasionally select from water to land. You can read more about it in our special material with a video, which shows the appearance of this amazing creation.