These Are The Oldest Animal Footprints Ever Discovered on Our Planet

The footprints are thought to date back 550 million years GettyMore

The scientists claim that the current findings bore a resemblance with the fossil prints that date back to the period between four hundred and nineteen to three hundred and fifty-eight million years ago.

Created before the Cambrian Explosion-a sudden burst in animal diversity that took place about 541 million years ago-scientists think these are the oldest trackways ever discovered on Earth.

The research team, consisting of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASS) and Virginia Tech, believe that the footprints may have belonged to arthropods, annelids or their ancient ancestors, Xinhua reports.

An global team of scientists has recently uncovered what they believe are the earliest animal fossil footprints on record, Phys.org reports.

"Ediacaran trace fossils provide key paleontological evidence for the evolution of early animals and their behaviors", researchers write in their study.

In the end, without a complete fossil record, we can not make any presumptions regarding the needs or the habits of the animal.

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Team-members are unclear whether the creature had two legs or several. Among other things, it is also worth noting the trackways appear connected to the burrows, something that indicated the animals probably dug into the sediments in order to consume food or oxygen. The era was so long ago that many rocks from the time period have naturally disappeared, and the Yangtze area is one of the very few in the world where such well-preserved fossils can be found today. The rocks they come from are dated between 551 million and 541 million years old.

Bilaterian animals (like annelids and arthropods) have appendages that are paired.

"We do not know exactly what animals made these footprints, other than that the animals must have been bilaterally symmetric because they had paired appendages", said Chen.

Scientists from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Virginia Tech reveal in a statement that the footprints were produced by a bilaterian creature with paired appendages that lifted its body above water-sediment surface.

The researchers speculate that the same creature left both the tracks and the burrows, suggesting an animal that scurried and tunneled its way across the ground.

Now, the discovery of the trackways and burrows shows that animals with appendages lived during the Ediacaran period, the researchers said. Maybe they were never preserved.

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