Animal Origins

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Science  25 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5287, pp. 525-526
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5287.525


The fossil record suggests that animals evolved 565 million years ago (Ma) during the Vendian period of the latest Neoproterozoic era. By the beginning of the Cambrian period of the Paleozoic era, an explosive proliferation had established all of the major groups of animals. In their report, Wray et al. (p. 568) use genetic evidence to move the origins of animals back to between 1000 to 1200 Ma. In his Perspective, Vermeij discusses the implications of this big shift in the evolutionary time line.