The living nature of our planet’s surprising – as its diversity and the characteristics of each individual creature. Some animals appeared on the planet relatively recently, one of the youngest species can be called humanity.
But other inhabitants of the planet are extremely ancient creatures who lived here millions and hundreds of millions of years, virtually not changing at all. Which of today’s living creatures can be called the most ancient?
You can list many creatures, whose ancestors lived in very ancient times. Many of them surprised by their appearance.
The first mammals – marsupials
The platypus and the echidna
Australia because of its isolation has preserved the most ancient mammals – the marsupials and the cloacal. The first category includes Koala, kangaroo, and the other is the platypus and the echidna. These creatures flourished in the Mesozoic, and they first appeared 190 million years ago. The evolutionary process has led to the emergence of more complex organized mammals which could give birth to fully formed young, which need not be in the bag.
They pushed their primitive ancestors who remained in Australia only. Echidna and platypus lay eggs, not being birds. While kangaroos and other marsupials give birth to young in an embryonic state, which then grow to nipples in the pouch, thereby continuing the development of that in other mammals takes place in utero.
Ants, in particular, Martialis heureka
The ants appeared for a long time, they lived about 100 million years ago, using collective intelligence as today. However, the species Martialis heureka differs from most of his contemporaries, maximally preserving their archaic features. He has no eyes, but has a well developed system of hairs on the body. Each of the hairs has sensitivity to vibration, pressure, other indicators that allow the insects to move confidently and to pursue their activities.
Sharks, including frilled
The frilled shark
Sharks appeared over 150 million years ago, these fish were and still are successful predators because their anatomy has changed a little. Today, the oceans are still a huge Megalodon, but there is a frilled shark that can live on the kilometer depth. A creature similar in appearance to the acne. Like all other sharks, it has a cartilaginous skeleton, and the only real bones in her body remain teeth. Anatomy of Megalodon is almost completely corresponds to the structure of the modern great white shark, only the size of our contemporaries modest 2-3 meters.
Even more ancient creatures are notostraca, which rightly belongs to the ancestors of modern crustaceans living in fresh waters. These creatures have inhabited fresh water during the time of Pangaea when all the continents were assembled. Creatures are usually small in size ranging from 2 to 4 mm, also they are distinguished by their tremendous vitality. Its eggs can remain in the mud, waiting for optimal conditions for hatching, adult notostraca are omnivorous all the way to cannibalism.
Continuing the consideration of freshwater inhabitants, it is necessary to note the antiquity of the sturgeon fish. Their age is more than 200 million years, they have a wide habitat, which includes today Europe and North America. Of all the freshwater fish remain the largest. This is one of the oldest branches of bony fish, and today many of its species are on the brink of extinction for their valuable caviar, despite the fact that the law protects ancient and rare creatures.
Crocodiles – contemporaries of the dinosaurs appeared 250 million years ago. But dinosaurs are extinct, and crocodiles live – they were more tenacious and adaptable to the changing environmental conditions. Crocodiles haven’t changed much over the past millions of years, can fall into a long hibernation under adverse conditions, not to eat for six months, but if you have food to eat her tens of kilograms. Giant crocodiles of the past are extinct, but there are three-metre Nile, which was the embodiment of one of the local ancient gods. Live on different continents and tiny Cayman. Read our article: the biggest species of crocodiles.
The coelacanth is an even more ancient formation age about 400 million years. It has the archaic structure of the body, which is able to talk about those days, when the oceans still tried to conquer the land. At some point, this fish was considered extinct forever, but then she was re-discovered in the Indian ocean. Coelacanths grow to almost two meters in size, they have developed a system electrosensory bodies, allowing to study all around and lobed fins have no analogues in the modern world. In the distant past, a fish had just such a structure, and then some of them became lungfish, began to develop the land, continuing to develop fins to limbs. So evolution started to pull living beings into new territories hitherto unknown.
The horseshoe crab
This crab could appear before the dinosaurs, officially, his age equates to 450 million years. An unusual creature, also known as the horseshoe crabs are related to arachnids, a relative of his recognized trilobite. The creature grows to 50-60 cm, has the armour and protective coloration, tail with a special device that AIDS in maneuvering and in search for food. The appearance of horseshoe crabs is surprising and amazing, they are somewhat similar to the larger of the notostraca.
The age of Nautilus can be up to 500 million years, according to archaeological finds. These creatures have exceptionally beautiful and reliable sinks, which obviously allowed them to survive to the present day. Nautiluses eat, using his numerous tentacles, which also help to deal with enemies.
Still some ancient creatures living today is jellyfish. They work very simply, you do not have brain and nervous system, but can be poisonous. Their age is estimated by the indicator 550 million years. These jelly-like create have the sensory organs and digestive system, but 90 percent composed of water.
Even earlier on Earth were sponges, whose age is estimated at 580 million years. These beings are so primitive that they resemble more plants, no bodies they have, as well as parts of the body, all the cells included in such a structure, the same type. Corals also belong to the sponge. These creatures live in fresh and sea water, their diversity amounts to 8 thousand species.
The most ancient inhabitants of the planet should be considered of cyanobacteria – that is the conclusion reached by scientists. They existed on Earth about 3.5 billion years, being the most ancient inhabitants along with blue-green algae. The bacterium is able to produce oxygen in photosynthesis, it is a by-product of life. Probably cyanobacteria filled the atmosphere with oxygen, preparing it for the existence of all subsequent inhabitants who needed this gas for respiration. Without them there would be all those amazing creatures that ruled at different times by land and seas. People would not have been.
Thus, on the planet inhabited by many ancient creatures preserved from past eras. Each of them are worthy of study, because they were able to survive and survive era only because of its perfection.