Dickinsonia Fossil Mystery May Be Solved

Dickinsonia Fossil Mystery May Be Solved

Is the ancient, Ediacaran Period fossil Dickinsonia the earliest animal known? New research says it very well may be.

At 558 million years old, Dickinsonia predates the Cambrian explosion of animal diversity and sheer number of species. There has been a decades-long debate over whether Dickinsonia is a fungus, an amoeba, or some kind of lichen. Now, the most recent study claims to show fossil traces of cholesterol–a fat produced only by animals.

Jochen Brocks, one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement: “The fossil fat molecules that we’ve found prove that animals were large and abundant 558 million years ago, millions of years earlier than previously thought… The fossil fat now confirms Dickinsonia as the oldest known animal fossil, solving a decades-old mystery that has been the Holy Grail of palaeontology.”

As exciting as it is, the discovery is not as cut and dried as Brocks would make it. As always, more research is needed to confirm this extraordinary claim.

Source: Gizmodo


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