Evidence … burrows left in sediment point to signs of life almost 30 million years older than any previous animals known to modern humans.SIGNS of the oldest animal known in existence – a centimetre-long slug whose fossilised tracks in Uruguay are 585 million years old – has been unearthed.
The discovery would make the creature almost 30 million years older than any previous animals known to modern humans. The findings are described in the US journal Science.
The tracks of the slug-like animal known as a bilaterian were found in Uruguay by University of Alberta geologists Ernesto Pecoits and Natalie Aubet.
The evidence was not in the body of the animal itself, but in the burrows through sediment it left behind.
Previous evidence of bilaterians dates back to about 558 million years ago in Russia.
The age of the Uruguayan fossil tracks were established by dating the age of a rock that intruded into the siltstone in the area where the tracks were found.
Researchers spent two years going over their mass spectrometry analysis and making repeat trips to gather more samples before writing the peer-reviewed paper for Science.
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