Scientists discover an ancient wormlike creature that's the ancestor of all animals – including us

Scientists discover an ancient wormlike creature that’s the ancestor of all animals – including us

by Doyle Rice, USA Today

Scientists have discovered a fossil of our earliest ancestor: a tiny, wormlike creature that lived about 555 million years ago, according to a new study. 

“It’s the earliest ‘bilaterian’ …. which is an organism with a front and back, two symmetrical sides and openings at either end connected by a gut,” scientists from the University of California–Riverside said in a statement.

“It’s the oldest fossil we get with this type of complexity,” UCR geologist and study co-author Mary Droser said. The tiny fossil, about as big as a grain of rice, was discovered in Australia. 

Evidence for these early fossils is rare, scientists say. Most studies rely on trace fossils, or the tracks they left behind, rather than preservation of the small, soft-bodied organisms themselves.

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