Billions of years ago, the organisms that populated the Earth were mostly bacteria and other microorganisms. Until now, the oldest moving creature that the scientists found dated about 570 million years. Now, the researchers found 2-billion-year old fossils, and they believe these belonged to the first moving organisms on Earth.
The results of the new study were issued in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. According to the report, scientists unearthed tube-like fossils of about 2 billion years of age from a site in Gabon, on the coast of Africa. The researchers believe these fossils belonged to slimy colonies of microorganisms that moved together at once, as a unit, in their search for food.
These findings are essential in understanding better the evolution of life on Earth and are also significant since discovering 2-billion-year old fossils is not an easy feat to pull off. If the scientists are correct, these represent the earliest evidence of moving organisms on Earth.
This 2-Billion-Year Old Fossils Might Belong To The First Moving Organisms On Earth
“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,” said Dr. Ernest Chi Fru, one of the study’s co-authors.
“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?” Dr. Chi Fru added.
“While it remains uncertain whether the amoeboid-like organisms represent a failed experiment or a prelude to subsequent evolutionary innovations, they add to the growing record of comparatively complex life forms that existed more than a billion years before animals emerged in the late Neoproterozoic,” the researchers wrote in their study’s report.