Ancient critter could be the granddaddy of shellfish

L-R: A Cotyledion tylodes fossil, a drawing, and an artistic reconstruction, as released on January 17, 2013
L-R: A Cotyledion tylodes fossil with U-shaped gut, an interpretative drawing, and an artistic reconstruction are pictured in a graphic released on January 17, 2013, by the scientific magazine "Nature". The marine creature, which lived 500 million years ago at a time of explosive growth in Earth's biodiversity, could be a forerunner of worms and molluscs, a study published on Thursday said.

A weird marine creature that lived 500 million years ago at a time of explosive growth in Earth's biodiversity could be a forerunner of worms and molluscs, a study published on Thursday said.

Palaeontologists in China and Europe have taken a second look at fossils of a species called Cotyledion tylodes—a small animal that, when it was identified in 1999, was at first thought to be a cnidarian, or part of a group of -like species.

C. tylodes had a goblet-shaped body between eight and 56 millimetres (0.3 to 2.2 inches) long, with a cup-shaped upper part and lower cylindrical stalk.

On the upper part, the creature's mouth lay adjacent to its anus, with the two organs connected by a U-shaped gut and encircled by a "crown" of foldable tentacles, the scientists found.

The peculiar anatomy means that C. tylodes is most probably an entoproct, meaning an organism that strains to filter out suspended .

If so, its place in the family tree is wrong, says the study. It is likely to be a primitive lophotrochozoan, a branch that today includes worms and shellfish.

The study appears in the Scientific Reports.


Explore further

Bone-eating 'zombie' worms can no longer hide

Journal information: Scientific Reports

(c) 2013 AFP

Citation: Ancient critter could be the granddaddy of shellfish (2013, January 17) retrieved 8 August 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-critter-granddaddy-shellfish.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors