Date of Earliest Animal Life Reset By 30 Million Years
University of Alberta researchers have uncovered physical proof that animals existed 585 million years ago, 30 million years earlier than all previous established records show. The researchers found fossilized tracks of a centimeter-long, slug-like animal left behind 585 million years ago in a silty sediment.
The research team determined that the tracks were made by a primitive animal called a bilaterian, which is distinguished from other non-animal, simple life forms by its symmetry-its topside is distinguishable from its bottom side-and a unique set of ‘footprints’. The scientists say the fossilized tracks indicate the soft-bodied animal’s musculature enabled it to move through the sediment on the shallow ocean floor. The pattern of movement indicates an evolutionary adaptation to search for food, which would have been organic material in the sediment.