Tiny 450 million-year-old fossil of human ancestor found

Reconstruction of Saccorhytus coronarius gen. et sp. nov. and the phylogeny of early deuterostomes. From a study by Jian Han, Simon Conway Morris, Qiang Ou, Degan Shu & Hai Huang. Jan. 30, 2017. “Nature”

A one millimeter fossil shaped like a tiny bag with an enormous mouth may be the earliest human ancestor ever found, a study in “Nature” said today. The fossil of the organism was found in the Shanxii Province of China, scientists from Northwest University in China and Cambridge University report.

The bulbous little organism seems to have a series of folds behind its gargantuan mouth, and behind those are four conical openings. These openings might have been some type of sensory organs, the study says. While the little fellow doesn’t seem to have an anus, they speculate one of the four openings might have served as one.

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