Billion-Year-Old Fossil Discovered – Reveals Missing Link in the Evolution of Animals – SciTechDaily

Loch Torridon

Loch Torridon

A billion year old fossil, which provides a new link in the evolution of animals, has been discovered in the Scottish Highlands.

  • Scientists have discovered the fossil of an organism with two distinct cell types,  thought to be the oldest of its kind ever recorded
  • The fossil reveals a new insight into the transition of single-celled holozoa into more complex multicellular animals
  • Found in the Scottish Highlands, the fossil suggests the evolution of animals occurred at least one billion years ago and may have occurred in freshwater lakes rather than the ocean

A team of scientists, led by the University of Sheffield in the UK and Boston College in the USA, has found a microfossil that contains two distinct cell types and could be the earliest multicellular animal ever recorded.

The fossil reveals new insight into the transition of single-celled organisms to complex multicellular animals. Modern single-celled holozoa include the most basal living animals, the fossil discovered shows an organism that lies somewhere between single-cell and multicellular animals.

The fossil has been described and formally named Bicellum Brasieri in a new research paper published in Current Biology.