Oldest Animal Fossil in the World

This+undated+photo+provided+by+Ilya+Bobrovskiy+in+September+2018+shows+a+Dickinsonia+fossil+from+the+White+Sea+area+of+Russia.+The+body+is+about+9+centimeters+%283.5+inches%29+long.+In+a+report+released+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+20%2C+2018%2C+scientists+say+they%27ve+confirmed+that+these+fossils+from+more+than+500+million+years+ago+are+traces+of+an+animal%2C+which+makes+that+creature+one+of+the+earliest+known.+%28Ilya+Bobrovskiy%2FAustralian+National+University+via+AP%29
This undated photo provided by Ilya Bobrovskiy in September 2018 shows a Dickinsonia fossil from the White Sea area of Russia. The body is about 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long. In a report released on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, scientists say they've confirmed that these fossils from more than 500 million years ago are traces of an animal, which makes that creature one of the earliest known. (Ilya Bobrovskiy/Australian National University via AP)

This undated photo provided by Ilya Bobrovskiy in September 2018 shows a Dickinsonia fossil from the White Sea area of Russia. The body is about 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long. In a report released on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, scientists say they've confirmed that these fossils from more than 500 million years ago are traces of an animal, which makes that creature one of the earliest known. (Ilya Bobrovskiy/Australian National University via AP)

Ilya Bobrovskiy

Ilya Bobrovskiy

This undated photo provided by Ilya Bobrovskiy in September 2018 shows a Dickinsonia fossil from the White Sea area of Russia. The body is about 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) long. In a report released on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, scientists say they've confirmed that these fossils from more than 500 million years ago are traces of an animal, which makes that creature one of the earliest known. (Ilya Bobrovskiy/Australian National University via AP)

Kaitlyn Bolling, Staff Writer

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 The Dickinsonia fossil, found in 1947 by Ilya Bobrovskiy, was recently identified as one of the oldest animal fossils.

 In 1947, PhD student Ilya Bobrovskiy was excavating huge chunks of sandstone from two separate surfaces on a cliff in northwest Russia, near the White Sea; she discovered the Dickinsonia fossil. It was recently identified as the oldest animal fossil discovered that dates back 558 million years. Since the specimen was preserved in sandstone, scientists discovered a type of fat called cholesterol which showed animal life was present approximately 558 million years ago.

“The fossil fat molecules that we’ve found prove that animals were large and abundant 558 million years ago, millions of years earlier than previously thought,” said Professor Jochen Brocks from the Australian National University (as reported in The Independent).

  The fossil had an oval like body that measured around 5 feet which is 1.4 meters long. It had no head, organs, or limbs. Australian scientists thought the Dickinsonia was a fungus or a giant amoeba. But since they used the Dickinsonia fat, they were able to uncover how old the fossil was.

Scientists have been fighting for 75 years on what the Dickinsonia and other fossils of the same category known as the Edicaran biota (the animal and plant life of a particular region, habitat, or geological period) were. But when everyone received the results, it solved a decades-old mystery; they were animal fossils.

Mr. Bobrovskiy took a helicopter to get to the specific remote part of Russia. He stated it was a difficult journey on finding the fossil, but it was worth it because he got to help discovering the truth about the Dickinsonia.

The molecules that they extracted from the fossil was a game changer because it allows them to study further in depth. Vanessa Gutierrez, an 8th grader at Dana Middle School states,” I think this is amazing. We uncovered a new part of history that allows us to explain what happened in the past.”

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