Feeds

Oldest skeleton found in South Australia

500 million year old fossil like ‘a thimble with needles’

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Researchers from the University of California Riverside and the South Australian Museum have turned up a surprising creature more than half a billion years old, showing signs of a skeleton.

The find, called Coronacollina acula, is the oldest fossil so far discovered to show signs of ‘hard structure’ development, the researchers say.

A UC Riverside reconstruction of Coronacollina acula.

Image: Daniel Garson/Droser lab, UC Riverside

According to UC Riverside professor Mary Droser, it’s the first fossil to show “skeletal body parts” in pre-Cambrian specimens. The Cambrian period from 542-488 million years ago, showed a huge diversification of life, while the Coronacollina acula specimen dates from the Ediacaran period, from 630-542 million years ago.

Droser also says the fossil provides a link between the two periods, “a precursor of organisms seen in the Cambrian. This is tremendously exciting because it’s the first appearance of one of the major novelties of animal evolution”.

The creature, a sponge-like animal that may have grown as large as 5 cm, isn’t observed directly: it’s spotted as a small depression in fossils. Living on the sea floor, the scientists believe the 20-to-40 needle-like ‘spicules’ attached to help support the structure.

While its sponge-like body didn’t survive the millions of years that have passed, the spicules did: they became mineralized.

Coronacollina acula was immobile, and while it was gregarious (with hundreds living together, according to Droser), its reproduction remains a mystery.

The research is published in the journal Geology (abstract). ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
Space station astronauts pop outside to replace crippled computer
Speedy space walk by snorkel-equipped spacemen followed by trash day
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.