A major discovery has been made regarding the beginning of life on Earth. Fossils found in the mountains of Canada could reveal the secrets of the ancestors of sea sponges who are believed to have lived on Earth around 89 million years ago. A Canadian researcher said these sponges may have come from the Neoproterozoic period. Small structures can be clearly seen in these. Species like those that can be seen in the Mediterranean today are called bath sponges or Spongia officinalis.
Sponges must have evolved first
If these reports are confirmed, they may be the oldest animal fossils on earth. University of Canada geologist Elizabeth Turner says sponge-like organisms must have evolved first. They are the most basic still today and in the fossil record. The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago and millions of years later the first single-celled aquatic organisms such as bacteria appeared. After a long time, a complex life developed.
What happens to this creature?
So far, a crepe-like creature named Dickinsonia is believed to be the oldest fossil believed to be 575 million years old. Turner says animals evolved before the records we have so far. Sponges live in water and do not have a backbone. They stick to the bottom of the ocean. Their bodies are soft and full of holes. They have no nervous, digestive or circulatory system.
Why is this discovery important?
Some contain a protein called spongine which creates a 3D structure. This is what sustains its fabric. The fossil found in Canada is similar. It has little tubes that form a network. The size of this creature would have been close to a centimeter and it would have lived on the underside of the coral. If it is indeed a sponge fossil, then it can be called the oldest animal on earth.