A new study suggests that an ancient creature that looks like an anus-free mignon has more to do with penis worms and cinemas than with humans.
Sacccorhytus coronarius, who was 500 million years old, was formerly associated with a group of animals known as secondary animals, believed to be ancestors of all vertebrates and humans. However, a new research group concluded that they were exizozoes. The group included insects and marine invertebrates, such as penis worms and cinemas.
According to researchers, recent results make an important adjustment to the evolutionary tree and our understanding of how life has evolved.
Philip Donohue, co-author of the study and professor of paleobiology at Bristol University in Great Britain, said that scientists had always believed that S. Coronarius needed to be reclassified. "I am sure that people felt relieved that we had not come from wrinkled ballbags," he said.
The early Cambrian species is only about 0.5 mm long. It was found in the microcams of Shenxi province in north-west China. Scientists used synchrotron, a type of particle accelerator, to obtain detailed X-ray images of fossils. They discovered microscopic details of its structure.
The original interpretation of S. coronarius, first published in 2017, was that the holes around the mouth were pores and possibly the predecessors of gills. A new study concluded that the species did have spikes that passed through the holes that broke through during the fossilisation.
The team created a digital 3D model of S. coronarius and compared it to different groups of animals before placing it among early ecdisosomes. This is a big step for a small creature that could lead to a full-scale scientific debate, convinced the authors of the study.