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Fossil Reveals Earth's Oldest Known Animal Guts  

By Editor - Sat Jan 11, 8:48 am

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They say you should trust your gut, which is what Emmy Smith did when she went hunting for fossils in 2016. Smith, a field geologist, had a hunch she would find something interesting at a site north of Pahrump, Nevada, and she did. But what her gut hadn't told her was that some of those fossils would turn out to contain the oldest known animal guts on the planet.”It was just really lucky,” said Smith, who works at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is part of the team that reported the find Friday in Nature Communications.The guts are those of an extinct animal called Cloudina, which looked like a worm made of a stack of ice cream cones and lived about 550 million years ago, just after a period in Earth's history when the entire planet was encased in ice.Smith and a doctoral student in her lab wrapped the Cloudina fossils they found in toilet paper, put them in paint buckets and hauled them back to their field car, a Ford Ranger nicknamed Kitty. Later, Smith shipped the fossils to Tara Selly and James Schiffbauer, paleontologists at the University of Missouri, for further study.Schiffbauer and Selly specialize in the group of fossils that Cloudina is a member of: the Ediacara biota.

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Fossil Reveals Earth's Oldest Known Animal Guts

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