Research NewsPaleontology

Pushing Back the Origins of Animals

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5352, pp. 803-804
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5352.803

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


In this issue of Science (p. 879) and in this week's Nature, two groups report finding microscopic fossils of animals and embryos exquisitely preserved in 570-million-year-old phosphorite rocks in south-central China. These new fossils offer a first glimpse of familiar-looking animals before the Cambrian explosion 540 million years ago, and show how a full record of the dawn of animals might be assembled. By showing that phosphate can fossilize tiny, fragile organisms from such ancient times, the finds have opened up a new way of looking for an older record of animals, say paleontologists.