The earliest example of an organism living on land – an early type of fungus – has been identified. The organism, from 440 million years ago, likely kick-started the process of rot and soil formation, which encouraged the later growth and diversification of life on land.
A 520 million-year-old fossilised nervous system – so well-preserved that individually fossilised nerves are visible – is the most complete and best example yet found, and could help unravel how the nervous system evolved in early animals.
Javier Ortega-Hernández (Department of Zoology) discusses what the discovery of the earliest known fossilised nervous system could tell us about evolution.
A new study of 565 million-year-old fossils has identified how some of the first complex organisms on Earth – possibly some of the first animals to exist – reproduced, revealing the origins of our modern marine environment.
A newly-identified species of spike-covered worm with legs, which lived 500 million years ago, was one of the first animals on Earth to develop armour for protection.
Newly-discovered ‘ring of teeth’ helps determine what common ancestor of moulting animals looked like24 Jun 2015
A new analysis of one of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever discovered has definitively sorted its head from its tail, and turned up a previously unknown ring of teeth, which could help answer some of the questions around the early development of moulting animals.
The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, B is for Bear – found roaming Cambridgeshire 120,000 years ago, on 17th century murals in Madingley Hall, and keeping Lord Byron company at Trinity College.
The discovery of a 500 million-year-old fossilised brain has helped identify a point of crucial transformation in early animals, and answered some of the questions about how heads first evolved.
A new study of teeth belonging to a particularly phallic-looking creature has led to the compilation of a prehistoric ‘dentist’s handbook’ which may aid in the identification of previously unrecognised specimens from the Cambrian period, 500 million years ago.
New research harnessing fragmentary fossils suggests our genus has come in different shapes and sizes since its origins over two million years ago, and adds weight to the idea that humans began to colonise Eurasia while still small and lightweight.