"Mystery fossils" seem to represent tiny balls of cells

September 25, 2014 9:03 PM

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"Mystery fossils" seem to represent tiny balls of cells

The fos­sils, from an area in south­ern Chi­na called the Edi­a­ca­ran Dou­shan­tuo Forma­t­ion, date back to just be­fore a burst of an­i­mal di­vers­ity known as the Cam­bri­an ex­plo­sion, ac­cord­ing to the re­search­ers. Life had not yet emerged from the oceans. Yet this “pre-Cam­bri­an era,” with hard-to-find fos­sils, rep­re­sents al­most 90 per­cent of the his­to­ry of life on Earth.

The new spec­i­mens, slightly under a mil­li­me­ter wide, are thought to offer a win­dow on­to the early ev­o­lu­tion of com­plex mul­ti­ple-celled or­gan­isms.

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