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Researchers find the oldest evidence of animal life on Earth



The earliest evidence of animal life dating back at least 100 million years before the Cambrian when most major types of animals occurred was found by researchers from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). They traced molecular signs of animal life, known as biomarkers, as early as 660-635 million years ago during the Neoproterozoic era. Englisch: www.cosmetic-business.com/en/showar…p?art_id=844. They found a steroid compound produced only by sponges, which are among the earliest forms of animal life, in ancient rocks and oils from Oman, Siberia, and India.

The biomarker identified a steroid compound called 26-methylstigmastane (26-mes), which has a unique structure that is only known to be synthesized by certain types of modern sponges called Demospongs.

The study by Gordon Love, a professor at the UCR Department of Earth Sciences, was published today in [1

9459004veröffentlicht] Nature Ecology & Evolution .

"This steroid biomarker is the first evidence that demopoegse and multicellular animals thrive in ancient seas at least 635 million years ago," said Alex Zumemberge, author of the study, and a PhD student works in the research group of Love.

Alex Zumberge of the University of California, Riverside (right) collects 750 million year old rocks from a lake in Sweden. (Photo: UC Riverside)

This discovery is a result of the pursuit of molecular fossils instead of conventional body fossils.

"Molecular fossils are important for tracking early animals, since the first sponges were probably very small, did not contain a skeleton, and did not leave a well-preserved or easily-recognizable fossil record of the body," Numberge said. "We looked for striking and stable biomarkers that indicate the existence of sponges and other early animals, rather than single-celled organisms that dominated Earth billions of years before the onset of complex, multicellular life."

Read the study "Demosponie Steroid Biomarker 26-Methylstigmastane Provides Evidence for Neoproterozoic Animals" at Nature Ecology & Evolution .

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