Printer Friendly

'World's oldest eye' found in 530-million-year-old fossil.

AN "exceptional" 530-million-year-old fossil contains what could be the oldest eye ever discovered, according to researchers.

The remains of the extinct sea creature include an early form of the eye seen in many of today's animals, including crabs, bees and dragonflies.

Scientists made the find while examining the well-preserved fossil of a hard-shelled species called a trilobite.

These ancestors of spiders and crabs lived in coastal waters during the Palaeozoic era, between 541-251 million years ago.

They found the ancient creature had a primitive form of compound eye - an optical organ that consists of arrays of tiny visual cells, called ommatidia, similar to those of present-day bees.

The team, which included a researcher from the University of Edinburgh, say their findings suggest compound eyes have changed little over 500 million years. The right eye of the fossil - which was unearthed in Estonia - was partly worn away, giving researchers a clear view inside the organ.

This revealed details of the eye's structure and function. The species had poor vision compared with many animals today but it could identify predators and obstacles.

CAPTION(S):

The fossil unearthed in Estonia

COPYRIGHT 2017 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 8, 2017
Words:187
Previous Article:Diamond ring breaks record at auctioneers; unknown bidder parts with PS1.3 million.
Next Article:Mum feared for safety of her children as carjackers struck.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters