425 mn-year-old sea creature revealed in 3D

August 5th, 2010 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 5 (IANS) It might not look like much, but a bizarre green blob that lived in the ocean approximately 425 million years ago was one of the earliest living creatures on earth.
A 3D computer mode of a primitive Drakozoon has been created from the only known fossilised specimen of the creature for the first time, reports the Daily Mail.

The model will help researchers understand what primitive species on early earth looked like and how they might have evolved into the types of creatures that are around, according to journal Biology Letters.

The Drakozoon specimen was found in the Herefordshire Lagerstatte, one of England’s richest deposits of fossils.

Drakozoon lived in the ocean during the Silurian Period, 444-416 million years ago, and today’s model hints at how it lived.

The research reveals that Drakozoon was a cone-shaped creature with a hood and it probably had a leathery exterior skin. It appears to have survived in the ocean by attaching itself to hard surfaces such as rock.

It was approximately 3 mm long and used filament-bearing tentacles to catch and eat organic particles in seawater.

It pulled its hood down over its body for protection against predators, pulling it back again to expose its tentacles when danger passed.

Mark Sutton from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London says: “Excitingly, our 3D model brings back to life a creature that until recently no one knew even existed, and provides us with a window into the life of Drakozoon.”

“By looking at this primitive creature, we also get one tantalising step closer to understanding what the earliest creatures on earth looked like,” he added.

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