The Sciences

This Strange Microscopic Sack Isn’t Actually Our Oldest Ancestor

Scientists are relieved to rule out a mysterious animal with no anus as a member of our own family tree.

By Sam WaltersAug 17, 2022 3:50 PM
Microbe
Saccorhytus (Credit: Philip Donoghue et al/Nature)

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To put it simply, Saccorhytus was a small, spiny and wrinkled sack, with a massive mouth and no anus. This strange animal, which wriggled through the seabed approximately 540 million years ago, looked like nothing you’ve ever seen, and thankfully for all of our peace of mind, a team of researchers recently concluded that the creature came from another family tree, completely separate from our own. 

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