'Earliest animal fossil footprints discovered in China'

Mindy Sparks
June 8, 2018

That's hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs started roaming Earth, about 245 million years ago.

Scientists discovered the oldest footprint known so far in an ancient seafloor in China. This sea-dwelling animal had paired appendages that raised its body above the ocean floor, the footprints left behind by its multiple feet suggest.

For comparison, non-bilateral animals include sponges, corals, jellyfish, and anemones.

Scientists in China believe tracks left by tiny animals that crawled in sea-shore mud around 550 million years ago are the oldest footprints on Earth.

Life during the Ediacaran was characterized by algae, lichens, giant protozoans, worms, and various bacteria, but there's still a lot that paleontologists don't know about it.

"Unless the animal died and [was] preserved next to its footprints, it is hard to say with confidence who made the footprints". Well, the team has it narrowed down to a bilaterian animal - a creature with bilateral symmetry, that has a head at one end and the back end at the other, as well as a symmetrical right and left side, Live Science explains.

Unfortunately, the team hasn't got a complete fossil record, and they can not assess the habits or needs of the animal that left those 'footprints.' They didn't find the body fossils of the animal, and they might never find it, as preservation is highly unlikely after so much time.

The tracks are actually older than any fossil of a creature with legs, so scientists are puzzled by what created the footprints.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, up until that historic event, which lasted for 20-25 million years and gave rise to most of the major animal groups on the planet, animal life on Earth was limited to simpler, single-celled or multicellular organisms. The team is involved in researching about the tracks and burrows found in the Denying Formation. They are one of the most diverse animal groups in existence today. This new find is the first direct evidence of animals with appendages during the Late Ediacaran Period. The trackways also appear to be connected to burrows, suggesting the creatures periodically tunnelled down into the sediments, perhaps to mine oxygen and microbes as food.

Bilaterian animals (like annelids and arthropods) have appendages that are paired.

'Arthropods and annelids, or their ancestors, are possibilities.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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