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Ancestor of all animals identified in Australian fossils

team led by UC Riverside geologists has discovered the first ancestor on the family tree that contains most familiar animals today, including humans. The tiny, wormlike creature, named Ikaria wariootia, is the earliest bilaterian, or organism with a front and back, two symmetrical sides, and openings at either end connected by a gut. The paper...
By Holly Ober | UCR Today |

Australia enables UCR to dig into Earth’s wild past

Australian officials signed an agreement last night allowing UC Riverside to continue its pioneering research on a government-owned goldmine for unusual fossils. Nilpena Station is a city-sized plot of land in the Australian Outback. It harbors the richest collection on Earth of animal species around 550 million years old. Some of its fossil beds are...
By Jules Bernstein | UCR News |

Special journal issue looks for new clues about old life

Hundreds of millions of years before there was a chicken or an egg to debate, the first complex animals were evolving in parallel with Earth’s rising oxygen levels. But what came first — animals or oxygen? That question is the central theme of a special issue of Emerging Topics in Life Sciences published Sept. 28...
By Sarah Nightingale | UCR News |

Two new creatures discovered from dawn of animal life

Earth’s first complex animals were an eclectic bunch that lived in the shallow oceans between 580-540 million years ago. The iconic Dickinsonia — large flat animals with a quilt-like appearance — were joined by tube-shaped organisms, frond-like creatures that looked more like plants, and several dozen other varieties already characterized by scientists. Add to that...
By Sarah Nightingale | UCR News |

Researchers Find Earliest Evidence for Animal Life

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT Name: Iqbal Pittalwala Tel: (951) 827-6050 E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu Sponges are one of the simplest forms of multicellular animals. Image credit: Love lab, UC Riverside. RIVERSIDE, Calif. – An international team of scientists from UC Riverside, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions has found the oldest evidence for animals in the...

Research Shows Earth's Earliest Animal Ecosystem Was Complex and Included Sexual Reproduction

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT Name: Iqbal Pittalwala Tel: (951) 827-6050 E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu Mary Droser, a professor of Earth sciences, on a field trip in the South Australian outback. Video shows Mary Droser and James Gehling excavating a Funisia dorothea fossil in South Australia. RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Two paleontologists studying ancient fossils they excavated in the South...
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