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Ancient critter could be the granddaddy of shellfish

Published on Jan 17, 2013 11:27 PM
 
This handout combination of three pictures released on Jan 17, 2013 by the scientific magazine "Nature" shows the stem group entoproct Cotyledion tylodes fossil with U-shaped gut (A), interpretative drawing (B), and an artistic reconstruction in life (C). This weird marine creature that lived 500 million years ago at a time of explosive growth in Earth's biodiversity could be a forerunner of worms and molluscs, a study said. Palaeontologists in China and Europe have taken a second look at fossils of a species called Cotyledion tylodes -- a small animal that, when it was identified in 1999, was at first thought to be a cnidarian, or part of a group of jellyfish-like species. -- PHTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - A weird marine creature that lived 500 million years ago at a time of explosive growth in Earth's biodiversity could be a forerunner of worms and molluscs, a study published today said.

Palaeontologists in China and Europe have taken a second look at fossils of a species called Cotyledion tylodes - a small animal that, when it was identified in 1999, was at first thought to be a cnidarian, or part of a group of jellyfish-like species.

C. tylodes had a goblet-shaped body between eight and 56mm long, with a cup-shaped upper part and lower cylindrical stalk.

On the upper part, the creature's mouth lay adjacent to its anus, with the two organs connected by a U-shaped gut and encircled by a "crown" of foldable tentacles, the scientists found.

 
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