The first creature able to MOVE!

The world’s first ever moving lifeform has been discovered in Gabon and dates back to around 2.1 billion years ago.

Scientists say the primitive creature was likely ‘slug-like’ and exhibited the earliest known signs of motility. 

The fossil takes the earliest estimate of mobile multicelular organisms back from a previous guess of 570 million years ago to almost four times this, to when the planet was only half its current age. 

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The fossils are preserved in thin layers of rock and look like tubes with a consistent diameter of a few millimetres (pictured). The fossil takes the earliest estimate of mobile multicelular organisms back from a previous guess of 570 million years ago to almost four times this, to when the planet was only half its current age

The fossils are preserved in thin layers of rock and look like tubes with a consistent diameter of a few millimetres (pictured). The fossil takes the earliest estimate of mobile multicelular organisms back from a previous guess of 570 million years ago to almost four times this, to when the planet was only half its current age

An international team, coordinated by Professor Abderrazak El Albani, of the University of Poitiers in France, made the discovery in the black shales of the Paleoproterozoic Francevillian Group Fossil Formation in Gabon.

It was discovered by Professor El Albani’s team and allowed scientists to re-date the appearance of multi-cellular life on Earth to 1.5 billion years earlier than previously thought.

In a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team report finding trace movements for complex organisms that thrived in the Francevillian inland Sea.

A detailed 3D analysis using a non-destructive X-ray imagining technique to reveal the new fossils belong to an organism that likely spent most of its time in oxygenated waters, and was therefore reliant on the element to survive.  

The fossils are preserved in thin layers of rock and look like tubes with a consistent diameter of a few millimetres. 

Co-author of the study Dr Ernest Chi Fru, from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: ‘It is plausible that the organisms behind this phenomenon moved in search of nutrients and oxygen that were produced by bacteria mats on the seafloor-water interface.

The world's first ever moving lifeform has been discovered in Gabon and dates back to around 2.1 billion years ago, Scientists say the primitive creature was likely 'slug-like' and exhibited the earliest known signs of motility (pictured)

The world’s first ever moving lifeform has been discovered in Gabon and dates back to around 2.1 billion years ago, Scientists say the primitive creature was likely ‘slug-like’ and exhibited the earliest known signs of motility (pictured)

‘The results raise a number of fascinating questions about the history of life on Earth, and how and when organisms began to move. 

‘Was this a primitive biological innovation, a prelude to more perfected forms of locomotion seen around us today, or was this simply an experiment that was cut short?’ 

Professor El Albani said the traces of life are located next to fossilised microbial biofilms, which formed carpets between the different sedimentary layers.

He said said: ‘It is plausible that the organisms behind this phenomenon moved in search of nutritive elements and the dioxygen, both produced by cyanobacteria.

‘What did these living elements look like? Though difficult to know for certain, they may have been similar to colonial amoebae, which cluster together when resources become scarce, forming a type of slug, which moves in search of a more favourable environment.’

Copyrighted By Dailymail.co.uk. Source

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