Thursday 19 July 2018

'Oldest eye ever discovered' on 530-million-year-old fossil

The 530-million-year-old fossil containing what could be the oldest eye ever discovered
The 530-million-year-old fossil containing what could be the oldest eye ever discovered

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 fossil of a hard-shelled species called a trilobite.

These ancestors of spiders and crabs lived in coastal waters during the Palaeozoic era, 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, including a researcher from the University of Edinburgh, says suggestions are that compound eyes have changed little over 500 million years.

Irish Independent

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