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They solve the mystery of the creature without an anus of more than 500 million years

  • Victoria Gill
  • BBC Science Correspondent

Artist's reconstruction of Saccorhytus coronarius, based on the original fossil finds.  The actual creature was probably no more than a millimeter in size.

image source, Cambridge University

Caption,

Artist’s reconstruction of Saccorhytus coronarius, based on the original fossil finds.

Scientists say they have solved an evolutionary mystery involving a 500-million-year-old microscopic spiny creature with a mouth but no anus.

When discovered in 2017, this tiny, sac-shaped fossil of a marine animal was said to be the oldest known ancestor of humans.

Saccorhyntys coronarius, as this ancestral being is known, was tentatively classified within the group of deuterostomes, which are characterized by his anus forms before his mouth during his embryonic development.

These are the primitive ancestors of vertebrates, including humans.

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