The worm and a death march: a rare peek at the first animal ...

World

The worm and a death march: a rare peek at the first animal movements

Scientists have discovered a fossil whose wriggly imprint sheds light on the origins of movement in animal species

AFP

More than half a billion years ago a worm-like creature wriggled its last, creating a groove preserved as a fossil that offers new insights into some of the earliest animal movement.

The origins of movement in animal species remain fairly murky, though there is evidence of “directional movement” – as opposed to the meandering drift of a jellyfish, for example – as early as 560 million years ago.

But records of such early movement are very rare, which makes a series of fossils that provide evidence of the life, and death, of the worm-like Yilingia spiciformis a key find...

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