'Mindblowing' Discovery Could Shake Up Evolution

Newser - 03-23

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(Newser) – Scientists are expressing shock and elation over a new fossil-find that revisits life half a billion years ago—and may just shake up our view of evolution, the Guardian reports. Reported in Science, the Qingjiang site in China includes at least 4,351 fossils representing 101 species, 53 of them new to science. These primitive sponges, algae, jellyfish, and other creatures are also captured in incredible detail, with visible details of their mouths, eyes, muscles, and gills. And they're from a vital period called the Cambrian explosion when animal life erupted on Earth, spawning many creatures and rooting the tree of life. The fossils "help us to tease apart how complex organs such as brains could be assembled through blind evolutionary processes," says Martin Smith, a paleontologist not involved in the project.