Study resets date of earliest animal life by 30 million years

Jun 28, 2012

University of Alberta researchers have uncovered physical proof that animals existed 585 million years ago, 30 million years earlier than all previous established records show.

The discovery was made U of A Ernesto Pecoits and Natalie Aubet in Uruguay. They found fossilized tracks of a centimetre long, slug-like animal left behind 585 million years ago in a silty sediment.

Along with other U of A researchers, the team determined that the tracks were made by a primitive animal called a bilaterian, which is distinguished from other non-animal, simple life forms by its symmetry-its topside is distinguishable from its bottom side-and a unique set of 'footprints'.

The researchers say the fossilized tracks indicate the soft-bodied animal's enabled it to move through the sediment on the shallow ocean floor. The pattern of movement indicates an to search for food, which would have been in the sediment.

The precise age of the tracks was calculated at the U of A by dating the age of an igneous rock that intruded into the siltstone in the area where the tracks were found. It took more than two years for U of A researchers to satisfy themselves and a panel of peer review scientists that the age of 585 million years is accurate. The dating process included a trip back to Uruguay to collect more samples of the fossilized rock and multiple sessions of mass spectrometry analysis.

U of A Murray Gingras said when it comes to soft-bodied animals and their tracks it's not unusual for the animal's body to disappear but its tracks become fossilized.

Prior to the U of A find and age confirmation, the oldest sign of was dated at 555 million years ago from a find made in Russia.

Kurt Konhauser, a U of A geomicrobiologist, says the team's discovery will prompt new questions not only about the timing of , but also the environmental conditions under which they evolved. Konhauser explains that the challenge now is "to find out how these animals evolved to the point where they were able to move about and hunt for food."

The U of A's research team includes Ernesto Pecoits, Natalie Aubet, Kurt Konhauser, Larry Heaman, and Richard Stern and Murray Gingras. The research was published June 28, in the journal Science.

Explore further: Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

More information: "Bilaterian Burrows and Grazing Behavior at >585 Million Years Ago," by E. Pecoits et al., Science, 2012.

Related Stories

Continent's oldest bird tracks are found

Nov 23, 2005

University of Colorado scientists say they have found fossilized bird tracks in the Cedar Mountains near Moab, Utah, that are 125 million years old.

Oldest evidence of dinosaurs found in Polish footprints

Oct 06, 2010

fossilized tracks -- is described this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Just one or two million years after the massive Permian-Triassic extinction, an animal smaller than a house cat walked across ...

Dinosaur tracks attract a crowd

Jan 15, 2008

More than 100 people gathered in Kane County, Utah, to see fossilized footprints pressed into the sandstone by dinosaurs 185 million years ago.

Recommended for you

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

13 hours ago

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

Dec 17, 2014

A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xiao-hong Chen f ...

Gothic cathedrals blend iron and stone

Dec 17, 2014

Using radiocarbon dating on metal found in Gothic cathedrals, an interdisciplinary team has shown, for the first time through absolute dating, that iron was used to reinforce stone from the construction phase. ...

User comments : 31

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (12) Jun 28, 2012
'Why the first animals were slugs and slugs are alive today. So this definitely disproves evolution. Of course nobody was there so who knows besides us godlovers?' -kevfarts
Vendicar_Decarian
4.1 / 5 (9) Jun 28, 2012
How do we know that the slugs that are here today are not the same slugs that were here 30 million years ago and that they are just very old?

SatanLover
3.1 / 5 (9) Jun 28, 2012
How do we know humans and worms are sisters and brothers? I mean we all eat from one end and poop out of the other end, right?
flicktheswitch
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 28, 2012
Kev moves through the sediment, blindly groping for tasty Physorg morsels to gum on... Is this proof for, or against, evolution? :O
Nyloc
2.3 / 5 (4) Jun 29, 2012
Entertaining 'slug'fest, guys :-)
CardacianNeverid
3.5 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
This is fun.

How do we know that god didn't make it look like the fossil is 585 million years old to fool the unworthy of salvation?
Birger
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 29, 2012
Naah, that "fossil" footprint was actually created early this morning along with the rest of the world, including our memories...
UleeUggams
5 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2012
Such arrogance Why do men even think that A "God Day" has anything to do with our dizzing trip around the sun. go back to the beginning and start With the big bang when God commanded let there be light or somthing like that and it is blatently obvious God has a much busier day than us slugs of god ; )
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (11) Jun 29, 2012
@Ulee: Simply go and read ex20:8-11. Plain and simple answer to your question - no arrogance required.

The pattern of movement indicates an evolutionary adaptation to search for food,

The researchers are not even at least willing to admit that this is a sheer guess. They are stating this as if it's a fact. By now the refrain should be clear - they just weren't there to document what it was like before such supposed "evolutionary adaption" occurred, nor were they there to record the result of such adaptation. Hence whatever they saw in the sediment cannot tell them anything about ANY "evolutionary adaptation".
One needs to be on the lookout for such sleight of hand in these "journeys into the past" which are more story-telling than real science.
The only science is that tracks were discovered and after ASSUMING that the igneous intrusion happened at the same time as the sedimentation, they determined some "age" for the tracks - and It might not be such a co-incidence at all.
barakn
4.6 / 5 (10) Jun 29, 2012
ASSUMING that the igneous intrusion happened at the same time as the sedimentation,
The sedimentation had to have occurred first or the magma would have had nothing to intrude into. As such, the age of the igneous rock provides a lower bound on the age of the sedimentation: the sedimentation is as old as or OLDER than the igneous rock.

they just weren't there to document what it was like before such supposed "evolutionary adaption" occurred
While it's quite possible the people you think are your parents were present at the moment of your conception, I'm quite certain they never bothered to document that magic moment. By your logic, there's no proof you were ever conceived, at least not not in the manner you ASSUME. Perhaps your mother was impregnated by a space alien, or by God, or she eschews help and reproduces by parthenogenesis. Or quite possibly, Kevin, I am your father.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
How do we know that the slugs that are here today are not the same slugs that were here 30 million years ago and that they are just very old?
why yes the first life would have been perfect and eternal because it was created in gods image.

So ergo then god is a slug although he is a VERY BIG one. With iridescent skin and what leaves a trail of caramel ice cream and appleseeds as he squirms along at lightspeed and beyond. Lightspeed offers no resistance to gods almighty WILL.
parthenogenesis
More likely parsonogenesis.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.2 / 5 (11) Jun 29, 2012
Creationists shouldn't comment on science, ridiculous but always good for a laugh. Now they are admitting that they don't care for the science - but for religious texts, fairy tales as they are known to be. That is why they have to lie as here, since lying (which a fairy tale becomes if you think it is real) leads to lying. Way to go, making a mockery of their text that, if they have read it, says that you shouldn't lie.

Yes, these are meticulously peer-reviewed facts ("It took more than two years for U of A researchers to satisfy themselves and a panel of peer review scientists") and they are known to tell us about biological behavior, hence evolutionary adaptations. Standard biology. Don't ever lie, or you will be a 'damned' fool.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
@Ulee: Simply go and read ex20:8-11. Plain and simple answer to your question
"8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

-And please do not forget:

"I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.'" (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)

-You have been warned.

Question: why would the great slug god need rest?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 29, 2012
So ergo then god is a slug although he is a VERY BIG one.


First, creativelutionists random "poofing" of unrelated animals doesn't make any sense. What is the likelihood of random animals coming together on the same planet? It is literary astronomical small!

Then, creativelutionists cites their Saint Einstein 'holy' text, that says "there will be causality". Meaning there will be slugs upon slugs. Oh yeah? Then which slug made the "very big"? Also, the universe was smaller and simpler back then, hence small slugs had to slug off later big ones. You can't start with the biggest, most complex slug first.

It is all more story-telling than real religion.
Scientist_Steve
4.6 / 5 (11) Jun 29, 2012
"One needs to be on the lookout for such sleight of hand in these "journeys into the past" which are more story-telling than real science." -Kevin

Oh god, the irony in that statement coming from you almost made me shit my pants.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (8) Jun 29, 2012
Question: why would the great slug god need rest?
Answer: The great slug god saw the merit of humans having one day of rest a week and so rested by example.

This is similar to the reason allah requires some (not all) muslims to eschew toilets and squat to do their business. Sit-down johns were in use during the prophets time, and allah could see that people dawdled far longer on them. And so to promote harmony among believers in chronically overcrowded societies he made them squat. Hail to the wise and pragmatic slug god of all men.

This is similar to the reason he gave islam fridays, jews saturdays, and xians sundays, as their mandatory sabbaths to be idle upon pain of death.

And hogs not only harbor trichanosis, but will consume roots and bark and so must be unclean for wholly pragmatic ecological reasons. Like women during menstruation. I am sure there is a pragmatic reason for that one too. Smell?

Hail to the wise and pragmatic slug god of all men (and women).
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (7) Jun 29, 2012
I'm quite certain they never bothered to document that magic moment. By your logic, there's no proof you were ever conceived, at least not not in the manner you ASSUME.
No such luck. By kevs logic there IS proof...

"5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;" jer1
PhotonX
4.6 / 5 (11) Jun 29, 2012
News Flash: Direct Observation No Longer Necessary!
Researchers find that humans can solve questions such as the Earth's age, Solar System origins, and the history of Humankind, just as police solve unseen murders by using clues and evidence.
.
By employing tools such as evidence and data collection, research, deduction, and reasoning, it is possible to explain the past without actually having seen it. This same study shows that people with limited imagination may struggle to understand these abilities. Those who have suffered the abuse of childhood religious indoctrination may find it especially hard, but even they can come to enjoy this basic human skill if they work hard to unshackle themselves from the their irrational and totally unsubstantiated beliefs.
aroc91
5 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2012
"One needs to be on the lookout for such sleight of hand in these "journeys into the past" which are more story-telling than real science." -Kevin

Oh god, the irony in that statement coming from you almost made me shit my pants.


And that sort of irony is precisely why I think he's just trolling. He says stuff like that all the time and I think it's deliberate.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 30, 2012
But he is such a *hilarious* troll... oh!

Actually I don't think we need the help of trolls to grasp that religion is fairy tales especially fit for dimwits.
Husky
5 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2012
What I would like to know , what did the ancient slug eat...
Birger
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2012
Was the ancient slug god possibly a relative of Ctulhu? In that case, all his followers have to look forward to is to get *eaten first*, when the Old Gods return.
I think I stick to science, thank you very much ;-)
IronhorseA
not rated yet Jun 30, 2012
"On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, "

I do believe telling an animal what to do or what not to do constitutes work. Hence the above quote is an impossible request. ;P
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
It's Satan the beast - crawling on his ummm her belly, before Jesus and his tin foil hat....

OBTW, who is June 28? A cousin of R2D2?
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
"go back to the beginning and start With the big bang when God commanded let there be light" - UleeFontBottom

And it's all been down hill since then.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
And yet Capitalists have people working on God's Sabbath day all over America.

Clearly Capitalism is the work of Lucifer.

"On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, " - IronHorse
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
The observations tell them that the organism was moving, motivation unknown.

You are right though. The motivation may not have been for food. It could have been looking for the closest 7-11 to pick up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, or it might have been just looking for it's car keys, or a reasonably priced hooker.

"Hence whatever they saw in the sediment cannot tell them anything about ANY "evolutionary adaptation" - AquaMan
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
Probably because he is very old, balding and fat and in desperate need of a vacation.

However, without a universe, he had no place to take one. So he created a spa for himself, and for the last several thousand years has been getting the universes longest facial and bikini wax.

"Question: why would the great slug god need rest?" - Otto

Personally, after 6,000 years of toiling I think God owes us not just one day of rest, but 2.

Lets put the Luciferian Capitalists to death, for having taken away the Sabbath, for they have violated God's law. While we are at it, put an exclamation point on their punishment by doubling down on God's good grace.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
Isn't that one the original sin thing, to punish women for the sins of Eve - that ungodly sinful whore?

"Like women during menstruation. I am sure there is a pragmatic reason for that one too." - Otto
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2012
Being Gawadlike, he/she probably ate ice cream, beer and the occasional bag of Cheetose.

What I would like to know , what did the ancient slug eat...

And maybe a little nibble of Carry Fisher.

"Chelaw hookie voon cha Jedi se Solo?"
slayerwulfe
not rated yet Jul 10, 2012
What I would like to know , what did the ancient slug eat...

the bounty that God provides, "and he looked down on it and said "it was good ""

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.