Exclusive: 600-million-year old blobs are earliest animals ever found

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    Exclusive: 600-million-year old blobs are earliest animals ever found

    Fossils in China suggest that that some of the first animals in existence may have been carnivorous comb jellies similar to some species that still exist today

    sea gooseberry

    The oldest known animal looked like modern sea gooseberries

    Ron Offermans, Buiten-beeld/FLPA

    By Graham Lawton

    MOVE over, Dickinsonia. This 558-million-year-old creature was named the earliest known animal last year, but New Scientist can now exclusively reveal one that existed even earlier – by more than 40 million years.

    This previously unknown animal comes from 600-million-year-old rocks in China and doesn’t have a name yet. While Dickinsonia was an Ediacaran – a primitive group of organisms that went extinct about 541 million years ago – the unnamed animal seems to have belonged to a group of animals that still exists today: comb jellies. …

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