Apr 30 2013

What our ancestors may have looked like

The so-called ‘Cambrian explosion’ that occurred 500-600 million years ago saw the appearance in the fossil record of an extraordinarily wide diversity of life forms. Whether there was a sudden flurry of evolutionary advances at the time or whether that time marked the beginning of animal bodies that were fossilizable and so gave the illusion of an explosion of life forms is not clear. The suspicions are that it was the latter.

The illustrations in a new book about that period show some reconstructions of them. We could well be the descendants of one of these animals. What is clear is that we had, by current standards, some pretty weird looking ancestors,. Here’s one of them that I thought most closely resembles me.



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  1. 1
    Doug Little

    The so-called ‘Cambrian explosion’ that occurred 500-600 million years ago

    Were you there?

  2. 2

    It does have your smile :-)

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    An event lasting 100 million years should not be called an “explosion”

  4. 4
    David Marjanović

    Well… “our ancestors”… none of the pics on that site show a deuterostome.

  5. 5

    ZOMG! It has buttons for its eyes! The beldame got to it, too!

  6. 6

    I just watched that this weekend!

  7. 7

    We descendants of the Ediacaria get no respect.

  8. 8
    Matt G

    Why not? I call the formation of the Himalayas a collision. People just need to expand their concept of what an explosion or collision is.

  9. 9

    Hey, I still look like that when I’m on the sofa on a Saturday morning, watching Game of Thrones whilst wearing a sleeping bag.

  10. 10

    You watch your mouth, sir :D

  11. 11

    Oh, You also make the mistake of starting to watch them in the evening?

  12. 12
    Marcus Ranum

    “Collision” works, but the whole point of “explosion” is that it’s fast: A “violent release of energy.”

  13. 13

    I see the family resemblance. You clearly got your mother’s eyes.

  14. 14

    Thanks for bringing this book to our attention. I just added it to my “wish list.”

  15. 15

    From now on, whenever someone responds with that question, look them in the eye with a straight face and say ‘yes’. Just for teh lulz.

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