Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

You Come From This Thing: The Oldest Animal Ever Discovered

Illustration for article titled You Come From This Thing: The Oldest Animal Ever Discovered

Scientists believe that this is the animal from which everything else evolved. The first multicellular being that spawned every living being in this world through billions of mutations, from fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds to mammals to you.

Advertisement

It's an amazing discovery.

Its name is Otavia antiqua, and it is the oldest animal ever discovered: 760 million years old. Scientists claim that it used to chill out in calm, nice, shallow waters, chewing on algae and bacteria through its pores and into its little tube body.

Advertisement

Otavia was a sponge. A tiny one, no larger than a grain of sand. Paleontologist Dr. Bob Brain—famous for his work in hominids before his retirement—and geologist Anthony Prave—from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland—found the fossils of many hundreds of Otavia specimens in a rock at Etosha National Park, in Namibia. According to Prave, "certain samples would likely yield thousands of specimens. Thus, it is possible that the organisms were very abundant."

Apparently, it was also very resilient. The research data—published in the South African Journal of Science—shows that it survived at least two Snowball Earths, events that researchers think happened more than 650 million years ago. During a Snowball Earth period, the entire planet was almost entirely covered with ice.

The little critter persevered almost unchanged through those times, resisting along with algae and bacteria for roughly 200 million years, just before the Cambrian explosion, when Earth started to fill up with many different animals.

Dr Brain—who is an expert in predation—believes that Otavia was also the Earth's first predator. During those very early days, it sat on top of the food chain, uncontested, eating his food even while it had no means to hunt. According to him, it was the first in the evolutionary arms race. Otavia, he says, "led to man dominating the planet."

Advertisement

It doesn't look too menacing to me, but considering the its track record through those hundreds of millions of years, maybe Otavia was a BMF in disguise, after all. [South African Journal of Science and The Star via National Geographic]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Anyone ever notice that proponents of evolution call anyone who doesn't agree with them a name or demean their intelligence, essentially attacking their character? But on the other hand, the proponents of Creation attack the theory of evolution itself, not the people who support the theory. Ever notice that?

That should tell you something about evolutionists, namely their theory is a house of cards and any hint of trying to discuss it on its merits will make them attack you because it has no merits. So if they call you stupid then that's their way of saying there is no reason to debate the issue because you are too stupid to understand anything and that your opinion is inferior. So they can escape any actual debate of the facts with that method. The same method is used for any topic that Democrats support such as abortion, gov't health care, socialism, etc.

"I say your opinion is stupid and that means I'm superior. I will not waste my time debating a topic with someone who is stupid so I win and that means my theory is correct."