Fossils dating back 500 million years reveal the evolutionary history of jellyfish

Artistic reconstruction of Attenborough fossils Image courtesy of Frances Dunn

British scientists have described a new fossil in which the morphology of early spiny animals (representing animals including jellyfish) has been fixed, tens of millions of years before the previously thought body configuration began to be fixed. This spiny fossil is named after David; Named after Attenborough, it may help uncover the evolutionary history of this population. The study was published in Nature, Ecology and Evolution on July 25.

The austradiers contain corals and jellyfish, and their early fossil records are long but uneven.

Frances Dunn of the University of Oxford and collaborators describe a fossil of an echinocote from the Ediacaran period (557 million to 562 million years ago) found in Charnwood Forest called Auroralumina attenboroughi. The fossil combines jellyfish features with others more coral-like, making it one of the earliest members of a population that contains living spiny cells.

The researchers believe that the fossil may be one of the oldest known relatives of the evolutionary population that still has living offspring. Although the morphology of animals has always been thought to have been fixed only after the Cambrian period (541 million to 485 million years ago), A. attenboroughi is an early exception to this.

They say that the genus name of this fossil has” Dawn Lanterns; The meaning reflects the age of the fossil. Dunn and colleagues named David; Attenborough named the species, David; Attenborough was praised for raising awareness of Ediacaran fossils in Charnwood Forest. (Source: China Science Daily Feng Lifei)

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