Oldest 'footprints' found in China

The oldest known "footprints" left by an animal have been uncovered in southern China.

The trackways were found in the Yangtze Gorges area of South China.

The Chinese and American team led by Dr Shuhai Xiao, from Virginia Tech in the U.S., wrote in the journal Science Advances: "The irregular arrangement of tracks in the trackways may be taken as evidence that the movement of their trace maker's appendages was poorly coordinated and is distinct from the highly coordinated metachronal (wave-like) rhythm typical of modern arthropods".

No body fossils for these animals have been found yet, however, and the scientists believe such remnants may not have been preserved.

The fossils date to the Ediacaran Period, which was between 635 to 541 million years ago.

It is unclear what kind of tiny creature left the tracks, which lie just a few millimetres apart and look like a two rows of shallow depressions, or holes, marked in the dark grey limestone.

The presence of paired appendages (a primitive version of legs and arms) in the anatomy of this prehistoric creature is mirrored in the way the fossil footprints are laid out, Xiao explains.

"The footprints are organized in two parallel rows, as expected if they were made by animals with paired appendages".


"Also, they are organised in repeated groups, as expected if the animal had multiple paired appendages".

Animals with bilaterally paired appengages are assumed to have appeared during the Cambrian Explosion, but now their ancestry may be traceable to even further back in history. They are often assumed to have appeared and radiated suddenly during the "Cambrian Explosion" about 541-510 million years ago, although it has always been suspected that their evolutionary ancestry was rooted in the Ediacaran Period.

Prior to this, animal life on Earth consisted of simpler, single-celled or multicellular organisms, but the Cambrian Period gave rise to more complex creatures of a kind we recognise today, including bilaterian animals, who exhibited the first bilateral symmetry.

The ancient trackways and burrows are pictured.

These legs raised the animal's body above the sediment it was moving across.

"It is important to know when the first appendages appeared, and in what animals, because this can tell us when and how animals began to change the Earth in a particular way."

"Previously identified footprints are between 540 and 530 million years old". This means that the mystery animal might have periodically dug into the ocean floor's sediments and microbial matts, possibly to mine for oxygen and food, the researchers said.

Now, the discovery of the trackways and burrows shows that animals with appendages lived during the Ediacaran period, the researchers said.

Related News:



Most liked

Investigation reveals new details from deadly Tesla crash in Mountain View
Tesla's owner's manual warns drivers that the system may not detect stationary objects when traveling at higher speeds. For the last 6 seconds before the collision, the Model X's driver did not have his hands on the steering wheel.

Thiem Defeats Nishikori to Reach QFs
Two Americans are in the women's quarterfinals: No. 10 Sloane Stephens and No. 13 Madison Keys, who played each other in the U.S. Both players held their serves in the opening six games, before Thiem finished the first break in the seventh to go ahead 4-3.

Syria not ‘immune’, Israel will destroy Assad’s forces if attacked, says Netanyahu
He dismissed talks of France asking Lebanon to mediate in organising talks between regional countries on Syria. He said that Hezbollah and Iran would not withdraw from Syria until its "territorial integrity" is regained.

Arizona officers on leave after beating video
A representative for the Mesa Police Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment. In the video , Johnson was heard letting officers know he has a knife.

USA asks OPEC producers to pump more oil, no specific figure
In Venezuela, chronic delays and production declines could soon breach state-run PDVSA's supply contracts. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were up 85 cents at $76.21 a barrel by 1222 GMT, while U.S.

Korean woman survives Qld bush ordeal
She had been missing for five days before friends reported her missing on Wednesday and a search was launched, Kersley said. Ms Han was reportedly found after screams were heard in the area near the ravine.

Video shows police chase stolen armored personnel vehicle through Richmond
The statement says that before he left, Yabut "intentionally made public" a ZenCash vulnerability that he had coded in. More video sent to 8News shows the armored vehicle barreling down Broad Street in Richmond as police give chase.

U.S. Envoy To Germany Richard Grenell Wants To 'Empower' Europe's Conservatives
Bush administration and a longtime Fox News Channel commentator, has declined multiple requests for interviews. When asked about Grenell at a news conference Monday with Netanyahu, Merkel declined to comment.

Samantha Bee returns with an angry apology
The series is executive-produced by Samantha Bee , Jason Jones, Tony Hernandez, Miles Kahn, Alison Camillo, and Pat King. People who hone their voices in basement bars while yelling at drunk hecklers are definitely not paragons of cilvility.

Apple officially rebrands iTunes Connect to App Store Connect
Apple is adding a "For You" tab to the Photos app that will show memories, as well as produce sharing suggestions. For iOS users, the apps will look very familiar - and they should - the apps are essentially iOS apps.

Code Vein Collector's Edition Not Coming to North America
Give into the bloodlust fully and risk becoming one of the Lost, fi endish ghouls devoid of any remaining humanity. They provided information on the game's release date , collector's edition , and preorder bonuses.

Cleveland Cavaliers believe they can still play better vs. Golden State Warriors
Many of those uncontested. "Just got to be better", Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said tersely when asked about the defensive issues. The Cavaliers' faint glimmer of hope relies that their might not be a higher peak for the Warriors to reach.

Triple life plus 16 years for axe murderer Henri van Breda
The judge said Van Breda had a bright future when he attacked his family at their home in De Zalze‚ Stellenbosch‚ in January 2015. The Van Breda family before the murders: (left to right) Henri, 20, Marli, 16, Rudi, 22, father Martin, 55, his wife Theresa, 54.

Golden State Warriors take 3-0 lead in NBA Finals
But the job is not done, and you can't relax or be comfortable when you're still trying to win this thing. Durant then buried a 3-pointer from 33 feet out with 49.8 seconds remaining to essentially ice the game.

Man Kneels During Anthem At White House ‘Celebration Of America’ Event
Typical of him". "I know regardless of who wins this series, no one wants an invite anyway", James told reporters Tuesday. He also tweeted , "four reporters spotted Melania in the White House last week walking merrily along to a meeting".