Found a brain that is half a billion years old: how did he surprise scientists
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Scientists in China have discovered the oldest brain on the planet. It is almost half a billion years old and belongs to a worm that lived 525 million years ago. The researchers were amazed not only by the age, but also by the amazing shape of this brain. Details of the study were reported in an article in Science.
The ancient creature, which was given the name Cardiodictyon catenulum, was discovered along with other fossils in the Yunnan province of China.
The worm-like creature belongs to the Lobopodia phylum, a group of extinct creatures which lived in the Cambrian period at the bottom of the sea. They were arthropods with armored shells and short legs.
The brain of this creature amazed scientists with its shape, which will help shed light on the evolution of arthropods – spiders, insects and crustaceans. It turned out that the nervous system of this brain is perfectly preserved and is suitable for deeper scientific research.
The shape and structure of the worm's skull surprised scientists – head and brain were not divided into different parts. But the rest of the creature – divided into segments. For almost 50 years, scientists believed that the brain and head of extinct arthropods were divided into parts, like those of modern creatures.
The brain of Cardiodictyon catenulum was divided into three separate components even before the evolution of the head. These data confirm that the cerebral and caudal nervous systems in this group developed quite differently. This means that in the modern world, these animals may have completely different ancestors.
A dinosaur with preserved intestines was also found in China.
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