Scientists think a genus of myriapod, a relative of moder millipedes, may be the earliest direct evidence of an animal living on land.
Life on Earth started with bugs, more specifically arthropods that included insects, spiders and centipedes. There are indirect evidence of their soil-based forays.
The fossil of the myriapod Kampecaris obanensis was discovered in 1899 in a Scottish isle. It has been dated to be roughly around 425 million years ago. This new discovery may mean that the ancient many-legged ones might be the oldest land animals to have lived out of the water.
“It’s a big jump from these tiny guys to very complex forest communities, and in the scheme of things, it didn’t take that long,” said geoscientist Michael Brookfield from the University of Texas, and the University of Massachusetss in Boston. “It seems to be a rapid radiation of evolution from these mountain valleys, down to the lowlands, and then worldwide after that.”
The study has been published in the journal Historical Biology where the researchers used the technique called molecular clock dating, which is based on the mutation rate of DNA.
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