You Come From This Thing: The Oldest Animal Ever Discovered

Scientists believe that this is the animal from which everything else evolved. The first multicellular being that spawned every living being in this world through billions of mutations, from fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds to mammals to you.

It's an amazing discovery.

Its name is Otavia antiqua, and it is the oldest animal ever discovered -- 760 million years old. Scientists claim that it used to chill out in calm, nice shallow waters, chewing on algae and bacteria through its pores into its little tube body.

Otavia was a sponge. A tiny one, no larger than a grain of sand. Paleontologist Dr Bob Brain -- famous for his work in hominids before his retirement -- and geologist Anthony Prave -- from the University of St Andrews in Scotland -- found the fossils of many hundreds of specimens in a rock found at Etosha National Park, Namibia. According to Prave, "certain samples would likely yield thousands of specimens. Thus, it is possible that the organisms were very abundant."

Apparently, it was also very resilient. The research data -- published in the South African Journal of Science -- shows that it survived at least two Snowball Earths, events that researchers think happened more than 650 million years ago. During a Snowball Earth period, the entire planet was almost entirely covered with ice.

The little critter persevered almost unchanged through those times, resisting alone with algae and bacteria roughly 200 million years, just before the Cambrian explosion, when Earth started to fill up with many different animals.

Dr Brain -- who is an expert in predation -- believes that Otavia was also the first predator. During that time, it sat on top of the food chain, uncontested, eating his food even while it had no means to hunt. According to him, it was the first in the evolutionary arms race. Otavia, he says, "led to man dominating the planet."

It didn't too menacing to me, but looking at the results after all these hundres of millions of years, maybe Otavia resulted to be a BMF in disguise, after all. [South African Journal of Science and The Star via National Geographic]

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    You can believe you evolved from some mindless organism if you want.

      Oh no don't worry. I'll just believe that I was magically created from the ribs of a man - you know, the guy in the sky.

        if i was to weigh up the probability of being evolved from a sponge, vs immaculate conception... ... im preeeeeetty sure the sponge wins every time! lol

        random though though... if these things were sponges... the size of a grain of sand... could aaaall sand be fossilized Otavia?!?!?!

          If I was to weigh up the probability of something coming from nothing and you having any brain cells, i come up with nil for both.

            Wow Mac,

            That was definitely an intelligent response that will garner support for the creationist cause. You can tell by all the supportive comments that follow.

            One thing that disappoints me about evolution is it leads to people like Mac and one thing that disappoints me about the internet is it gives people like Mac a forum


              At least the internet reduces the number of Mac's. Everyone was a Mac in 17th Century Europe. Mac population is inversely proportional to access to information.

          "Immaculate conception" isn't about creation, that's about the birth of Christ I think. Creation is just creation.
          Taking it literally IS nutty though. It's weird that people in this day and age still have trouble with evolution.

      Mac.... have you seen the people on the internets? I'm sure some of them are mindless.

      We are all descended from mindless organisms - that certain lineages can resist evolutionary pressures while others adapt and improve is only too evident in your post.

      and you can believe you were created by a god. So... glad we had this talk?

      sad thing is that you most likely are religious

      why not? if you ever have kids, it will definitely be true for them...

      Thank you, I most definitely shall, and I'll kindly remind you that I don't need you to give me permission to do so :)

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    it didn't too menacing to me either


      If its called 'Intelligent Design' why are there people like you that are so narrow minded and stupid?

    God: yo Jesus, I am bored man, tell you what I am going to do, I am going to create life billions of people, I am going to flood their lives with reasons not to believe in me and one day when they least expect it I am going to surprise the hell (excuse the pun) out of them and those that doubted me I am going to burn for all eternity.... BUT I LOVE THEM so its ok.

    Jesus: you ol crazy hoot, I believe you cuz look what you did to me and I am your son!

    Mac is a sponge-ist - mindless indeed! Also dear Mac, the scientists did not state this is our MRCA (it is not actually likely, see here Oh hang on, you don't believe in evolution, so that is an irelevent remark :-) - see sponges are NICE and full of genetic goodness. Stop picking on sponges.

    I think we've all missed the important point here, and that is there is a dude out there called Dr Brain!

    "Dr Brain — who is an expert in predation — believes that Otavia was also the first predator"


      Do you think he got his doctorate purely so that he gets business card with Dr. Brain on it?

      Or is this an unfortunate (but awesome) misspelling of brian?

        I hope it's the former, but I also thought it was quite probably the latter.

    Lol, I love how something changing slowly over vast amounts of time is SO unlikely, but virgin birth, a global flood, dead people being reincarnated, etc is SO obviously right.

    Did no one notice the irony of the author of this stories name?

      I thought it was fun learning about evolution from Jesus, too.

    No it's not. It doesn't matter what any of you say. It's not a matter of belief or unbelief. This is theory (evolution by natural selection) vs law (2nd, thermodynamics). Genetic information over time loses diversity. It never gains diversity.

    Sorry, but it's literally impossible for me to have come from that. Theological implications aside, it's impossible for you to have as well.

      Must... Resist....GAH!

      What about the first law of thermodynamics? The whole "Energy can't be created or destroyed" thing? Or does your magical sky wizard sit above all that silly physics nonsense....

      You seem to misunderstand the meaning of 'theory' in a scientific context.

      Read this:
      You might learn something.

        I love how all you brainless losers get so fired up about evolution when if evolution was true, then who cares what anyone believes? It's all a meaningingless waste of a discussion and an accidental life we're all living anyway right?

        One of you bitter little nerds answer this... So obviously the theory is that we came from nothing. Even assuming the big bang theory, scientists are still even now trying to figure out an explanation for how it happened out of nothing. The big bang explains the beginning of evolution, not creation. So what created the big bang? If there is nothing for x million years, something can't suddenly appear. It's brainless to the extreme. Just please admit you're agnostics and I'll have some respect for you.

          "something can’t suddenly appear"
          Anyone else see the irony of this?

          wow, im 13 years old and can still see how stupid creationist theorys are.

          @Mac - You don't get it do you?

          Big Bang Theory ≠ Evolution.

          Abiogenesis (life forming from non-life) ≠ Evolution

          Evolution is simply the process by which life (from whatever origin) came to be how it is today.

          There are plenty of theories floating around about how the Big Bang was formed - it's just that no-one knows enough yet to confirm/deny any of them..

          So what that scientists are still trying to figure it out? That's what rational people who believe in proof and evidence do - they figure stuff out based on the evidence available, always ready to change their views if evidence comes along that counteracts previous conceptions.

          Irrational people, however, believe blindly in some idea or philosophy, and cannot be persuaded otherwise, even in the face of mountains of evidence and rational argument.

          So, which one are you?

          You forget that you're an atheist to all the other religions out there.

          It's is strange that you equate ones acceptance of the evolutionary process to life "being meaningless" (as well as i) big bang = evolution, ii) seeing weakness in questioning your beliefs/ideas and continuing to seek answers explanations).
          For me, I find great inspiration that chance played such a part for me to be hear and urges me to appreciate this time of consciousness I've somehow been privy to be gifted and how precious life is.
          Maybe if humanity could appreciate this chance that we have to be here, out of all the possibilities that could have been, we'd care and value our planet, other forms of life and each other. (rather than money and the next new gadget..;)
          It is not strange that you require a personification to find meaning in life, it is well documented that it is a belief system that humanity has held (and a considerable number continue to hold) from ages past.
          It is unfortunate that you do not understand in the evolutionary process. All it represents is a description of the process (well documented and evidenced) of change over time, but this is your choice.
          The irony is that you forsake the process that will allow you to challenge you're own belief systems.

      "The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy, a measure of randomness, cannot decrease in a isolated system. Our planet is not a isolated system."

      Or for a longer version

        Dear Mac, resorting to calling others bitter because they have a different opinion is undermining your own already vaporous credibility. Also you appear to be a little confused. Creationist theory (or intelligent design for those trying to get around a certain piece of amazingly sane US legislation) is the mutually exclusive concept to evolution. The big bang theory has absolutely nothing to do with the theory of evolution of life on Earth. Also, Mac, it is possible to believe in an all powerful omnipotent being/god and still believe that he/she/it/they instigated and watch over everything that happened since the "big bang" the they must have of course created because we don't have any easily understandable evidence for simple people to grasp and hold dear to make their lives mean enough for them to go on living day after day.
        Also regarding the "brainless to extreme", that can just as easily be leveled at those who refuse to accept the overwhelming supporting evidence that is available as a result of established, reputable scientific research into the earths history. And provides realistic explanations for things like what all those funny fossilized bones are that we find lying around.
        But one thing I have learned is that creationists are never willing to actually consider they may be wrong or listen to anything that may show this to be the case because they don't believe they could deal with it all if they accepted the non fairy-tale version.
        So lets just agree to disagree and you have a nice day.

      Sure that would be true if there was no mutations, but life doesnt do things perfectly

      Good effort. Fail.

      Increasing diversity is in fact increasing disorder of the original sequence. One of the definitions of entropy is the number of ways a system can be arranged and the law you refer to says this will increase over time. So make multiple copies of a sequence and entropy will ensure that some of them will contain errors - result multiple unique sequences hence more diversity. So assuming your application of thermodynamics is even valid, it practically mandates evolution.

      Also the second law of thermodynamics is talking about a completely isolated system. Since when Earth is an isolated system. We get a lot of energy from the Sun which is not a part of earth at all...

        I believe Zoidberg, he's a doctor.

    Creationism doesn't innovate it just steals all its ideas from evolution, and all its users are just sheep, there is way to much fragmentation in theology with every carrier just putting their own skin over the core system, I think Windows Phone 8 could be the biggest ... wait what the fuck am I talking about?

      "Creationism steals its ideas from evolution"

      Are you serious? The earliest concepts of evolution started in the 17th century when people got the ridiculous notion that everything could be quantified and proved with science. Go check yourself into a mental institution.

        Haha. YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN IT?!?! GOD DID IT!

    I've got one of those rocks in my back yard.

    lol @ Dr Brain. First name Richard.

    And on the eighth day, god created trollz for teh lulz, and he did name one Mac, and it was bad,and god said, 'do not feed it, for it contains great ignorance and close mindedness, for it readeth only one book, and does not accept, you know, reality,' but yea, lo, and verily, the masses did feed the troll, and it did post again, and there was a great wailing and mashing of keys, and posting of sentences that never seem to end, and a questioning of one and another's mental health, and it came to pass that by the 20th post, a great flame war had broken out, and Mac has a small thingy and has never kissed a girl, and there were lulz. Here endeth the post, Meh-men

      lol Funny+1

      Well done. Best post on the inter-webs I've read this week!


      an inspiring sermon, father

      I have a new deity to praise, and he goes by the name of Kendal!!! Thank you for saying so eloquently and amusingly what I thought, but couldn't put to words nearly as well as you!

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    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    Well somebody explain they massive ark they found in Turkey!


      Might wanna do some research on that btw. The "ark" was found by a group of christian scientists who set out for the specific purpose of finding it. They claim they've found it, took a few pics of some wooden beams (which btw aren't gopher wood like the bible says the ark is built of) and ALSO won't tell anyone the exact site. Funny that....

    @ Mac.

    You have to understand physics to realise 'time' acts differently under different circumstances. Once you understand and grasp what 'time' really is, you will realize how something may come from nothing because time is not a constant.
    you are a fool my friend, evolution didnt work on your behalf.

    People, it is called a THEORY of evolution for a reason. There is no solid proof, just DNA proof means anything can happen. If not, it will be LAW of evolution. You can choose your ancestor and please agree to disagree one another. Stop arguing. :)

      That's not how science works, it's not a hierarchy. Theories don't become laws because enough people agree on them. The theory of evolution is pretty much fact. It astounds me that people can see kids with their parents features and think some god chiseled them to be there when, very obviously, kids are carrying traits of their fore-bearers. that's all evolution is, just many, many changes over a very, very, very long period of time.

      Good resource:
      And I'd pick up Douglas Adam's book The Salmon of Doubts for some tasty tidbits.

      I remember seeing this in a creationist reference of rebuttals against evolution back in the 80's! And its still being used..

    Oh boy! Come on Mac, you had to know this reaction was coming before you posted that! You're so strongly against evolution you're not even learning from your mistakes.

    All I can say is... the marketers of THE DARKNESS II are getting their moneys worth.

    Hi all,

    I'll be upfront, I'm a Christian. I believe that God created all life on earth instantly with no evolutionary process.

    I'm not one to get bogged down in arguments, name calling etc, it gets none of us anywhere.

    Out of all the knowledge that exists, how much do we think Humans know? 1%, 5%, maybe even 10%? My opinion is that there is an awful lot of room left for God to exist. The fact that some people seem to think we know everything as FACT, just illustrates arrogance.

    As much as some don't like to hear it, i'll say it. God is real, Jesus died for us, he has a plan for each and every person and is just waiting to hear from us. Why not just ask him, give it a try, no one need know. What have you got to lose?

      "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      — Stephen Roberts

      What do I have to lose? Self respect for one thing.

      @Ponton, that's one of the greatest quotes I've read in a while. I'll be using that.

    Statisticly god is more likly to be Islamic or Hindu as there are more people who belive in those religions than christians.

      And there it is, the 'Reverse Troll' my personal favourite. Well played sir.

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