Friday, 12 September 2014

New branch of life?

A mushroom-shaped sea animal discovered off the Australian coast has defied classification in the tree of life. The tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal kingdom.
Such a situation has occurred only a handful of times in the last 100 years.
The organsims seems to have several similarities with the bizarre and enigmatic soft-bodied life forms that lived between 635 and 540 million years ago - the Ediacaran Period.
 These organisms, too, have proven difficult to categorise and some researchers have even suggested they were failed experiments in multi-cellular life.
Two new species of mushroom-shaped animals have been recognised: Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides. Measuring only a few millimetres in size, the animals consist of a flattened disc and a stalk with a mouth on the end.
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