Scientists discover the fossil of the primary identified animal predator and identify it in honor of David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough mentioned he was “actually pleased” after scientists named the fossil of the primary identified animal predator after him.

The fossil is the primary of its type and is believed to be the primary creature to have a skeleton, scientists say.

The 560-million-year-old specimen, which was named Auroralumina attenbouroughii, was present in Charnwood Forest close to Leicester, the place the rocks date again 600 million years.

The 96-year-old used to hunt for fossils within the space, which was as soon as thought of too previous to comprise fossils, and is credited with elevating consciousness about Ediacaran fossils within the forest.

The primary a part of the fossil’s identify is Latin for “lantern of daybreak”, in recognition of its nice age and resemblance to a burning torch, in response to a report from the journal. Ecology and evolution of nature.

Sir David Attenborough mentioned he was proud of the respect (Jane Barlow / PA)

(PA Archive)

After the award, Sir David mentioned: “Once I was in school in Leicester I used to be an ardent fossil hunter.

“The rocks through which Aurora has now been found have been then thought of so historic that they date again to lengthy earlier than life on the planet started.

“So I’ve by no means seemed for fossils there. A couple of years later a boy from my faculty discovered one and proved the specialists incorrect.

“He was rewarded by the truth that his identify was given to his discovery. Now I’ve – virtually – reached it and I’m actually pleased ”.

The specimen was present in 1957 by Roger Mason, from whom it took the identify Charnia Masoni.

Dr Phil Wilby, head of paleontology on the British Geological Survey, is likely one of the scientists who made the invention.

He mentioned: “It’s typically believed that teams of contemporary animals similar to jellyfish appeared 540 million years in the past within the Cambrian explosion.

“However this predator precedes it by 20 million years. It’s the first creature we all know to have a skeleton.

“We’ve solely discovered one thus far, however this can be very thrilling to know that there have to be others on the market that maintain the important thing to when advanced life on Earth started.”


In 2007, Dr. Wilby and his workforce spent greater than per week cleansing a 100-square-meter rock floor with toothbrushes and stress jets.

In a full-surface rubber mould, they discovered greater than 1,000 fossils, and one particularly stood out.

Dr Frankie Dunn of the College of Oxford Pure Historical past Museum mentioned, “That is very totally different from different fossils in Charnwood Forest and world wide.

“Most different fossils from this era have extinct physique plans and it’s unclear how they’re associated to residing animals.

“This one clearly has a skeleton, with dense tentacles that may have waved within the water catching passing meals, simply as corals and sea anemones do at the moment.

“It appears to be like like nothing else we discovered within the fossil report on the time.”

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