New paper out in Nature Ecology & Evolution support earlier origin of animal life

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Did you know that chemical compounds can also be fossilized? When it happens, they become evidence for the presence of particular organisms in ancient rocks. This is the lead for a new paper by Zumberge & colleagues in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

The researchers, including our team member Paco Cárdenas, could unambiguously link one such fossil biomarker to precursor sterols only found in several modern sponges – including some deep-sea ones. These specific fossil biomarkers reinforce the view that sponges (and therefore animals) existed already in the Neoproterozoic – at least 100 Mya before the Cambrian Explosion of animal diversity.

See Paco in 2006, already looking forward to this discovery!

Update! The paper has made it to the headlines. Have a look below: