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Friday, July 9, 2010

Earliest Known Multicellular Life


A newly discovered group of 2.1-billion-year-old fossil organisms may be the earliest known example of complex life on Earth. They could help scientists understand not just when higher life forms evolved, but why.

The fossils — flat discs almost 5 inches across, with scalloped edges and radial slits — were either complex colonies of single-celled organisms, or early animals.

Either way, they represent an early crossing of a critical evolutionary threshold, and suggest that the crossing was made necessary by radical changes in Earth’s atmosphere.

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