Have you ever asked yourself what were the first animals that ever lived on Earth? If not, scientists found out, and they even discovered how they reproduced.
Rangeomorphs, which are thought to have lived around 565 million years ago, were the first animals to ever inhabit planet Earth. However, they have little resemblance to the animals that we know today. They were more plant-like than they were animal and their reproductive techniques were fascinating.
Emily Mitchell, the lead study author of the research, mentioned that rangeomorphs are such interesting creatures because they a unique species identified in fossils. It seems that their reproductive techniques involved a two-pronged reproductive approach. This means that they were probably the first animals who adopted this technique.
The rangeomorphs were immobile, so studying one fossil can give insight as to how a population led their lives and how they died. Given that they are so close to each other scientists can look into how they reproduced and come up with an accurate response.
The reproduction was recreated using Fractofusus, a type of rangeomorph. Fractofusus sent out “grandparents”, which were actually parts of itself, into the water in order to colonize uninhabited areas. Once they reached their destination, the “grandparents” would then produce two sets of offspring: “parents” and “children“.
The process was successful only with the aid of stolons and then the new “parents” and “children” would clone more and more “Fractofusus babies”. It’s quite a fascinating asexual reproduction technique which resembles how strawberries grow even to this day.
It is not hard to understand how these animals came to rule the seas given the way the reproduced themselves. By creating themselves by the thousands, the Rangeomorphs practically transformed themselves in the most powerful population on the planet back then. Until the Cambrian period, of course, when other, more evolved species rose up to take their place.
Photo Credits wikimedia.org