What Is This?

Illustration for article titled What Is This?

Is this a ineffective tent with a hole at the top? Of course not. Maybe it's lasers shooting out of an angry pimple? That's even farther off. Perhaps it's a barnacle with slimy arms clinging to a ship's hull for dear life? Not quite, but close. The answer is a lot more historical than that:

This is a reconstruction of what scientists think the world's oldest organism with a skeleton looks like. Those razor-straight needle-looking things are support structures, which means the Edicaran-period organism is the oldest animal with hard parts. Coronacollina acula lived on the ocean floor 550 million years ago, most likely ate food particles floating in the water, and was unable to move.


Although these struts were for support, not defense, this guy must have been flossing in the big pre-Cambrian sea. Imagine if you were the first sponge with minerals sticking out of you and all of your anemones were soft and fleshy. Seriously, this little guy was the first animal on the block to rock bones.[EurekAlert!]

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It's a prehistoric creature. The first one with a bone structure.