Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Remarkable fossil sea creature -- 525 million years old -- shows soft parts of body including tentacles

Date:
March 28, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a remarkable fossil which sheds new light on an important group of primitive sea creatures. The 525-million-year-old fossil belongs to a group of tentacle-bearing creatures which lived inside hard tubes. Previously only the tubes have been seen in detail, but this new specimen clearly shows the soft parts of the body including tentacles for feeding.

This is the detail of 525-million-year-old hemichordate.
Credit: Professor Derek Siveter, Oxford University

Researchers from China, Leicester and Oxford have discovered a remarkable fossil which sheds new light on an important group of primitive sea creatures.

The 525-million-year-old fossil belongs to a group of tentacle-bearing creatures which lived inside hard tubes. Previously only the tubes have been seen in detail but this new specimen clearly shows the soft parts of the body including tentacles for feeding.

Details of the discovery have just been announced in the journal Current Biology.

The creature belongs to a group called pterobranch hemichordates which are related to starfish and sea urchins but also show some characteristics that offer clues to the evolution of the earliest vertebrates. About 30 species of pterobranch are known to exist today although 380-490 million years ago a group of these animals called graptolites were common across the prehistoric oceans.

Pterobranches are creatures which secrete a substance that builds up into a hard tube around their soft body. Tentacles extend from the top of the tube to catch plankton. Although less than 4cm in length, the new fossil is beautifully preserved and minute details can be seen including 36 tiny tentacles along one feathery arm.

Professor David Siveter from the University of Leicester's Department of Geology commented, "Amazingly, it has exceptionally preserved soft tissues -- including arms and tentacles used for feeding -- giving unrivalled insight into the ancient biology of the group."

Colleagues from Yunnan University and the Universities of Leicester and Oxford collaborated in identifying and describing the remarkable find which was discovered in Yunnan Province, China. It has been named Galeaplumosus abilus which means 'feathered helmet from beyond the clouds', referring to both the creature's shape and its location -- 'Yunnan' literally translates as 'south of the clouds.'

The team from Yunnan (Professor Hou and Dr Ma), Leicester (Professors David Siveter and Richard Aldridge; Drs Mark Williams and Jan Zalasiewicz) and Oxford (Professor Derek Siveter) are engaged in long term study of these important fossils.

The study was funded by the Royal Society and the National Natural Foundation of China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xian-guang Hou, Richard J. Aldridge, David J. Siveter, Derek J. Siveter, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz, Xiao-ya Ma. A pterobranch hemichordate zooid from the lower Cambrian. Current Biology, 24 March 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.005

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Remarkable fossil sea creature -- 525 million years old -- shows soft parts of body including tentacles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153024.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, March 28). Remarkable fossil sea creature -- 525 million years old -- shows soft parts of body including tentacles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153024.htm
University of Leicester. "Remarkable fossil sea creature -- 525 million years old -- shows soft parts of body including tentacles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110324153024.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins