The remains of an ancient example of deuterostomes discovered within Central China have led to groundbreaking discoveries after its analysis in various universities. The collaborative effort of many scientists confirmed the presence of the oldest recorded antecedent of humans.
With only a crown-like mouth as an opening and no signs of an existing anus, the Saccorhytus coronarius is the oldest-known deuterostome, an ancestor to many species, including humans.
The Shared Ancestor
Have you ever wondered about the oldest ancestors of humans? Fret not as researchers have discovered the Saccorhytus coronarius, our oldest known ancestors. The Saccorhytus coronarius’ name comes from its dominant physical features, with its body resembling a sack and a crown-like mouth. (Source: BBC)
The Saccorhytus coronarius is the most ancient deuterostome. One of the most abundant groups in the animal kingdom is the Deuterostomia; the therm deuterostome means mouth second. Their name is denoted as mouth second because their anus develops earlier than their mouths. A majority of the deuterostomes are echinoderms and chordates. The Saccorhytus coronarius is not only the ancestor of humans but a shared antecedent of many more species. (Source: UCMP Berkeley)
The body of the Saccorhytus coronarius is bilaterally symmetrical, making it belong to a larger anima group called the Bilateria. Most of its descendants inherited its physical feature of being bilaterally symmetrical. The creature contains small cones on its body, which became an exit for the water it swallowed. Many experts believed that the cones of the Saccorhytus coronarius became the predecessor for fish gills.
The minute creature’s only opening was its crown-resembling mouth, in which experts speculate that the waste it produced comes out of it due to their lack of anus. The creature consumed its needed food by eating food particles and fellow animals.
If that was the case, then any waste material would simply have been taken out back through the mouth, which from our perspective sounds rather unappealing.Simon Conway Morris
(Source: Sci News)
The Scientists’ Mind-Boggling Discoveries
Found in the Xixiang County of the Shaanxi Province, within central China, scientists working at the University of Cambridge, the University of Kassel, the Northwest University, the China University of Geosciences, and the Xi’an Shiyou University thoroughly studied 45 samples of the Saccorhytus coronarius.
Simon Conway Morris, a professor from the University of Cambridge, described the specimens as dark grains that revealed the grandness of their details under the microscope.
To the naked eye, the fossils we studied look like tiny black grains, but under the microscope the level of detail is jaw-dropping. All deuterostomes had a common ancestor, and we think that is what we are looking at here.Simon Conway Morris
A lengthy process that included isolating microfossils and investigating all facets of the sample using an electron microscope with the additional aid of a computed tomography scan resulted in the imaging of the ancient animal.
With a length of 1,300 micrometers, a width of 800 micrometers, and its amounted height of 900 micrometers, many specimens confirmed the presence of bilateral symmetry with its hemi-ellipsoidal figure.
The appearance of the Saccorhytus coronarius aligned with standing theories on early deuterostomes. Their discoveries with the antecedent is a sneak peek at the initial evolution stages that eventually led to the formation of humans. (Source: Sci News)