First footing: animals probably made these marks venturing ashore to mate and lay eggs.
© Geological Society of America
Ancient sandstone is notoriously difficult to date.
© Geological Society of America
Animals may have beaten upright plants to land.
The oldest fossils of footprints ever found on land hint that animals may have beaten plants out of the primordial seas. Lobster-sized, centipede-like animals made the prints wading out of the ocean and scuttling over sand dunes about 530 million years ago. Previous fossils indicated that animals didn’t take this step until 40 million years later.
"It’s staggering that we thought for all this time that animals appeared on land so much later," says Simon Braddy of the University of Bristol, UK. Braddy discovered the fossils with a team of Canadian and British researchers1.
Whatever they were doing, they were doing it together. The multiple fossil tracks are of different widths, meaning that the ancient dunes were well trodden. "A population of animals were involved in these excursions onto land," says Braddy.
There are no fossils of land plants as old as the footprints, other than remains of moss-like mats of greenery. So the tracks threaten to contradict the prevailing hypothesis that animals colonized land to exploit leafy resources. "This finding throws that idea on its head," says Trewin.
But a single finding can never be relied on completely, Trewin warns. "It’s very exciting if they are as old as the evidence suggests," he says. But sandstone rocks of this age are notoriously difficult to date. More examples of similar tracks of similar age will be needed before palaeontologists can re-write the natural-history books.
TOM CLARKE | © Nature News Service
PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2018 | Materials Sciences