Newfound single-celled hunters may have been Earth’s first-ever predators

Friday, June 9, 2023 - 10:04 in Paleontology & Archaeology

All creatures whose cells house a nucleus, including Paramecium bursaria, can be traced back to a common ancestor called the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA). Getty Images Ancient organisms that bobbed through Earth’s waterways at least 1.6 billion years ago may not seem to have much in common with humans, but we couldn’t have evolved without eukaryotes called Protosterol Biota. A team of researchers have found a “lost world” of these ancient organisms inside a rock that had formed at the bottom of the ocean near Australia’s present day Northern Territory. The findings are described in a study published June 7 in the journal Nature. [Related: Fossil trove in Wales is a 462-million-year-old world of wee sea creatures.] Eukaryotes like Protosterol Biota have a complex cell structure that includes the mitochondria (known by...

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