Research Article

Small Bilaterian Fossils from 40 to 55 Million Years Before the Cambrian

Science  09 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5681, pp. 218-222
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099213

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

Ten phosphatized specimens of a small (<180 micrometers) animal displaying clear bilaterian features have been recovered from the Doushantuo Formation, China, dating from 40 to 55 million years before the Cambrian. Seen in sections, this animal (Vernanimalcula guizhouena gen. et sp. nov.) had paired coeloms extending the length of the gut; paired external pits that could be sense organs; bilateral, anterior-posterior organization; a ventrally directed anterior mouth with thick walled pharynx; and a triploblastic structure. The structural complexity is that of an adult rather than a larval form. These fossils provide the first evidence confirming the phylogenetic inference that Bilateria arose well before the Cambrian.

View Full Text

Related Content