Your Father Was A Tiny Bag Creature

Say hello to Daddy! Credit: S Conway Morris / Jian HanClose
Say hello to Daddy!
Credit: S Conway Morris / Jian HanClose

New Study: “Bag-like sea creature was humans’ oldest known ancestor — A tiny sea creature identified from fossils found in China may be the earliest known step on an evolutionary path that eventually led to the emergence of humans.”

As we all know, Evolution helps us understand that although our father may look like us, and his father too, the further we go from father to father to father, back along the evolutionary chain, from human father to humanoid father, to neander-pop and again to daddy-erectus, we begin to converge on the common ancestors of all life – back, back, back along the glorious line, simpler, less aware, smaller, until we find the father of us all. As it turns out, it was a bag.

Scientists – finally – have done the ultimate paternity test and found “humans’ oldest known ancestor” – a microscopic bag-like sea creature. Of course they know how long ago this was, because of Science tests. Our dad lived 540 million years ago. This creature’s name is Saccorhytus and he lived in between grains of sand, which explains our affinity for going down the shore each summer.

Our friends at Science Daily tell us that “its features were spectacularly preserved in the fossil record — and intriguingly, the researchers were unable to find any evidence that the animal had an anus.” Such important information Science is doing for us.

Once again, the research team was “international”, which always helps to intimidate any would-be Science deniers who are so parochial. Science researchers from the UK, China, and Germany participated in this study of the fossil remains of Saccorhytus, which are not available to the unaided eye. Using a special instrument called a Microscope, we are able to leap to the most absurd conclusions about what we are able to see at 1000x zoom. For instance, Degan Shu, from Northwest University in China didn’t just do the mere recording of observations that our silly biology teachers in high school taught us. Instead, he speculated on the miniscule amount of data available and extrapolated the furthest and wildest conclusions one could surmise, within the limits of great Science. He explains “our team has notched up some important discoveries in the past…Saccorhytus now gives us remarkable insights into the very first stages of the evolution of a group that led to the fish, and ultimately, to us.”

See that? Microscopic bag-like sea grains leads to all the fish which leads to….US! Believe.

How did they pull this off? Science Daily tells us what Dr. Jian Han of Northwest University said: “We had to process enormous volumes of limestone — about three tonnes — to get to the fossils.” Wow, three tonnes of limestone, just to find microscopic fossils. That kind of Science costs millions of dollars, to be sure. Thankfully, the world is flush with disposable cash, but it still made us wonder whether it is worth such an enormous amount of resources. We were able to ask Dr. Han whether such research was worth the cost, and asked how much money this particular research required and he said, “More than you’ll ever see.”

Science Daily reports further: “The study suggests that Saccorhytus’ body was bilaterally symmetrical — a characteristic inherited by…humans — and was covered with a thin, relatively flexible skin.”

What could that suggest?

“This in turn suggests that it had some sort of musculature.”

What conclusions can we draw from that?

“Researchers concluded that it could have made contractile movements, and got around by wriggling.”

This all sounds just like us! Evolution is true!

Obviously, this is important. Credit: Jian Han.
Obviously, this is important.
Credit: Jian Han.

 

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