March 29, 2023

The fossil found in MS could change the way we understand evolution

Hinged armor consisted of plates that overlapped, but left room for movement. With this structure known as a cataphract, similar to the armor used by medieval knights, Corumbella may have protected itself from predators and fed on particles suspended in the water, something not yet recorded in the period in which it lived.

Fossil found in MS

according to CNN BrazilThis marine animal dates back to the Ediacaran period (between 635 million and 541 million years ago) and lived in the ocean that existed where Corumba is located today, in Mato Grosso do Sul. The first specimen was found in the same area in the 1970s.

Details of the anatomy of Corumbella (Corumbella werneri), one of the oldest fossil animals ever studied, are revealed in an article published in the journal. iScience. The study, conducted by researchers from Brazil, Scotland and Germany, brings new understanding of animal evolution.

“The characteristics of Corumbella make it one of the first modern animals to likely live in the presence of predators and food chains similar to those we know today,” Gabriel Ladera Ossis, first author of the article, told CNN. He conducted the analyzes during his PhD in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Natural Resources at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).

Until recently, studies showed that animals with these characteristics appeared about 30 million years later, in the event that has become popular as the “Cambrian Explosion.” At the end of the Ediacaran period, only disassembled fragments of cataphract fauna have been found.

“It probably lived fixed on the sea floor, part buried and part outside. The articulated carapace allowed it to defend itself against predators, probably soft-bodied, while at the same time it was able to move with the sea currents,” Ossis says. “It may have filtered out food particles in the water. New studies may help solve what remains of the mystery about this animal.”