Ancient Life Forms fed Through Fractal Arms
by Andy Coughlan
Is it a tree? Is it a fern? No, it’s a rangeomorph, one of the first complex organisms to evolve on Earth. A new analysis of their fossils suggests that rangeomorphs’ strange bodies evolved to absorb as much food as possible from the surrounding water.
Rangeomorphs ruled the oceans for around 40 million years, beginning 575 million years ago, in a period called the Ediacaran. Before them, life was microscopic.
They grew on the sea bed, far too deep to harvest sunlight for photosynthesis. Up to 2 metres long, they had no organs, mouths or means of moving, so they had to passively absorb nutrients from the surrounding water…
(read more: New Scientist)
illustration via: University of Cambridge