A 560-million-year-old fossil of the creature that researchers believe was the first predator is named after British naturalist and animator David Attenborough. The creature was given the name Auroralumina attenboroughii.By: our news editors
According to scientists, this is the oldest creature with a skeleton. It’s related to the group that includes corals, jellyfish and anemones, they say.
“Modern groups of animals such as jellyfish are generally thought to have appeared 540 million years ago during the Cambrian Explosion,” said Phil Wilby, a paleontologist at the British Geological Survey. “But this predator dates back 20 million years earlier.”
He called it “extremely exciting” to know that the fossil could be one of many fossils that provide insight into “the origin of complex life on Earth”.
The fossil was found in Charnwood Forest near Leicester in central England, where Attenborough used to hunt for fossils. The 96-year-old said he was “really delighted”.
Frankie Dunn, from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, said the specimen was very different from other fossils found in Charnwood Forest and around the world.
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Unlike most Cambrian fossils, this specimen is clearly skeletal, with dense tentacles that dangled in the water to catch passing food, as corals and sea anemones do today,” Dunn said. .
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