Predatorial Borings in Late Precambrian Mineralized Exoskeletons

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Science  17 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5068, pp. 367-369
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5068.367


The late Precambrian tube-forming Cloudina, the earliest known animal to produce a mineralized exoskeleton, shows evidence of having been attacked by shell-boring organisms. Of more than 500 tubes from Shaanxi Province, China, 2.7% have rounded holes 40 to 400 micrometers in diameter. The relation between the size of the holes and the width of the bored tubes suggests that the attacking organism was a predator, selecting its prey for size. If true, this would be the oldest case of predation in the fossil record and would support the hypothesis that selection pressures from predation was a significant factor in the evolution of animal skeletons around the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary.

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