The Atlantic

A 558-Million-Year-Old Mystery Has Been Solved

Scientists have finally confirmed that a weird ribbed oval called Dickinsonia is an animal.
Source: Ilya Bobrovskiy / Australian National University

Around 558 million years ago, a strange … something dies on the floor of an ancient ocean. Its body, if you could call it that, is a two-inch-long oval with symmetric ribs running from its midline to its fringes. It is quickly buried in sediment, and gradually turns into a fossil.

While it sits in place, petrifying, waiting, the world around it changes. The Earth’s landmasses merge into a single supercontinent before going their separate ways. In the ocean, ; for the first time, the world is home to eyes, shells, and mouths. Living things , coating it first in thin films of moss—finally unearths the fossilized ribbed oval from its resting place.

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