Cambrian fossils from China are believed to be the ancestors of modern jellyfish

Researchers fromYunnan University and theOxford university I recently conducted a study on fossilized Cambrian skeletons found in China. According to the first observations, the specimens appear as skeletal tubes. Trace the evolutionary history of these The first exoskeletons It proved difficult for scientists, but they did come to some conclusions.

The named fossil has been found Gangtuconia aspera to live around 514 million years ago At a time when some marine mollusks did not yet have a solid structure. Paleontologists were able to locate soft tissues including the animal’s gut and palate. They deduced that it was a file Ancient species of jellyfish.

Guangsu Zhang, a graduate student at Yunnan University, is the lead author of the research. The results of the study have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society b.

Scientists are trying to dismiss the identity of Gangtoucunia aspera

Paleontologists point out that the state of preservation of the fossils was so perfect that they were even able to distinguish between internal organs the animals. Additional observations also reveal that the mouths of the specimens were located in a ring of tentacles 5.8 mm long. It was the intestines of these animals Bag shape consisting of one hole.

The The mouth and anus were separated by vertebrae. Based on all this information, scientists have concluded that Gangtuconia aspera will belong to Cnidaria division. This type includes animals such as Modern jellyfish, corals and sea anemones. Thus, they disproved the ancient theory that the creature was an annelid.

According to the researchers, G. aspera It may have inhabited ancient oceans By attaching its tube to other individuals of its kind or moving creatures such as trilobites. To survive, the animal would have fed in the manner of modern jellyfish polyps.

Do traces of Gangtokonia aspera still survive today?

According to experts, the Scyphozoa are the only species of jellyfish that continue to form exoskeletons, but other cnidarians, such as corals, They retain their skeleton into adulthood. It should be noted that the formulations emanating from today’s manufacturers come from calcium carbonate, while G. aspera Instead calcium phosphate is used.

Therefore, scientists assumed that the environment Before the current era, it was rich in phosphorous. However, cnidarian genetics could have a critical role in this change.

One possible reason is that the pre-modern environment was rich in phosphorous. »

Guangsu Zhang, a graduate student at Yunnan University

Source: life

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