Spineless bug - oldest complex brain

2012-10-10 22:24

Paris - A 520-million-year-old, 7.6cm fossil has yielded evidence that complex brains evolved much earlier than previously thought, scientists said Wednesday.

The preserved external skeleton of Fuxianhuia protensa, an extinct type of arthropod, is the earliest known fossil to show a complex brain, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

"No one expected such an advanced brain would have evolved so early in the history of multicellular animals," co-author Nicholas Strausfeld, a neurobiologist at the University of Arizona, said in a statement.

The fossil was deposited in mudstone during the Cambrian period in what is today China's southwestern Yunnan Province.

It was a member of the family of arthropods, creatures without backbones which today include insects, spiders and crustaceans.

The researchers found two eyes on stalks which contained traces of a substance they interpreted to be nerve tissue - optic nerves connected to a three-segment brain.

"This fossil provides the most convincing, and certainly the oldest, description of nervous-system tissue in a fossil anthropod," Graham Budd of Sweden's Uppsala University Earth Sciences Department wrote in a comment on the study.

He pointed out that soft tissue like brain matter is much less likely to be preserved in the fossil record than bone and shell as it decayed much more easily.

The team also claimed that their findings settled a long-standing scientific argument about the evolution of insects.

They said their research ruled out branchiopods, shellfish with much simpler brains, as direct ancestors of insects - lumping today's bugs instead with another arthropod line that includes crabs and shrimp.

"In principle, Fuxianhuia's is a very modern brain in an ancient animal," added Strausfeld.

"It is remarkable how constant the ground pattern of the nervous system has remained for probably more than 550 million years."

  • Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-10-10 22:53

    Fascinating stuff. Evolution is a certainty.

  • zaatheist - 2012-10-11 03:59

    Spineless bug, heh? I did not know Zuma was that old.

      fredster.mania.5 - 2012-10-11 10:46

      ...with a fully functional spear!!!

  • frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 06:25

    "The researchers found two eyes on stalks which contained traces of a substance they interpreted to be nerve tissue" O hell, here goes the atheists and assorted hangers-on off on their lame tangent again! Read fools, and weep once again! ......"they interpreted" means the same as an educated guess! No exact science being conducted here but just the same BS Darwin tried to peddle as the truth. So stop making puddles while chasing your own tails as with all your other "proof", this is merely deductions and speculation! Chops!!

      mbossenger - 2012-10-11 06:40

      Frank - do you know on what basis the interpretation was made? If not, then why dismiss the claim without understanding what tests were done? Also - evolution is not an "atheistic" theory - it is well accepted by scientists who are believers.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 07:23

      To all you bleating atheists sheep trying to convince everyone of your inherent BS, stop trying with me as you've tried and failed miserably. The old cell-in-soup theory really just comes back to bite you every time as you have no answer to it. Like this piece of BS it is all deductions, interpretations and speculation that you lot are so exited about, the puddles are following you like a puppy in overdrive. So really man, piepie off!

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 07:33

      @ bloodbane. This is the basis of my argument and you have just confirmed the obvious. The "fairy tale book" you so scorn is by your own admission an educated guess, as are the theories you lot are so hung up on. So as I have asked before, extent me the same courtesy as I have extended you lot before I got involved in this discussion. Stop ridiculing my beliefs and I'll stop ridiculing yours. You don't have to believe it, just as I don't believe your speculations but when you deliberately go after me, expect the backlash, as I am not a Christian in the traditional sense and are not inclined to meekly turn the other cheek where action is required. Oh, and your brain theory is still out on speculation!

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 07:52

      You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! right frank. You put these smart@ass athiests in there place. Just because they are thinking because they are educated they know everything when they know nothing about what is real. Gods word is true. All that stuff children are taught about evolution and Big Bang theory is lies straight from the pit of hell. They are lies to try to teach children so they can no longer understand that they need a savior.

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 07:56

      Actuallly these athiests should keep there evolution out of our science. Science is fact and it was started by Christians. Christians were well involved with science in its early stages. True science is undestood by those who study the Bible as it is Gods guide to how think cam eto be and how they work. Evilution is a guess or a reason to deny God.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 08:11

      @ bloodbane. So explain to again how this super cell crawled out of the gene pool soup by putting his no existent foot down one day after being hit by lightning (apparently very common around 3 million years ago as believed by you lot of cretins). This pee-off cell then decided that enough is enough and became everything we know today! Please man, this isn't even a fairy tale but the ramblings of a nutter! So really.........

      Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-10-11 08:21

      @Frank. It's blatantly obvious that you know absolutely nothing about evolution. Some of the assertions you are making on this thread is exposing your gross ignorance on science and evolution in particular. You're entitled to believe whatever you like. But that does not detract from the fact that your religious beliefs are based on blind faith.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-10-11 08:27

      Frank, you are embarrassing yourself. You laugh at other explanations that are based on observational evidence, cross-referenced with geological records, and confirmed by DNA testing. But, you get mad when we don't believe "telephone-game" based hearsay, told through generations of bronze-aged goat-herders, about rib-women, talking snakes and a bloodthirsty ghost who's son died to save us from evil that said ghost caused himself. Now, tell us. What are we supposed to trust, and why?

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 08:54

      MeanMan Thats not nice and not right. For me, personally, it all comes down to what I know of God from my own personal experience with Him, and what is said of Him in His word. No amount of book-learning and high-IQ-arguing is going to change what the Spirit divulges to our hearts as truth. God confounds the "wise" and makes all our human knowledge as foolishness, amen

      jody.beggs - 2012-10-11 09:19

      @Frank Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire" See you in hell buddy. Did you even read your Buy Bull ? Cherry picking quotes is worse than picking your nose. Damn the man.

      Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-10-11 10:49

      @Frank. You are a bigot. You state that atheists should stop ridiculing your beliefs and that you will reciprocate by not ridiculing our "beliefs". Perhaps you should read your first comment again. Firstly the main article makes absolutely no reference to any religious context. It's a purely scientific report. Yet, YOU launch into the attack by making a lot of counter assertions. When you get some responses you then angrily declare that your beliefs must be respected. Sorry Frank. No deal. And your veiled threats about not backing down are futile. As an atheist, I won't back down either. You're entitled to express your views. I am entitled to express mine and that's not negotiable.

      andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-11 12:37

      If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... is what they mean.

      hamish.drake1 - 2012-10-11 14:44

      Is this religion vs science ever going to stop? Religion is a belief. There is no proving it. Science requires proof or it gets shot down by other science. The 2 are not mutually exclusive, as someone above has said. There does not have to be a winner or a correct answer to creation. To each his own.

      jody.beggs - 2012-10-11 15:54

      @hamish.drake1 no... The one is fact , science and the other fiction , Religion. In other words the one is real , the other not. The buy bull is full of half truths and contradictions. You need to be careful of half truth's , you never now what half your hanging onto ... Damn the man.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-11 18:13

      //No exact science being conducted here // Meanwhile back in reality: //Nicholas Strausfeld, a neurobiologist at the University of Arizona//

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 18:59

      RabbleRouser - October 11, 2012 at 08:21 Blind faith you say? And how does this differ from the blind faith you have that somewhere, some day, some how, science will prove your version of the beginning of the universe and everything in it?

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-11 20:19

      //And how does this differ from the blind faith you have that somewhere, some day, some how, science will prove your version of the beginning of the universe and everything in it? // The one has 300 years worth of scientific discovery, experimentation and evidence from qualified professionals behind it. The other one has interweb posters having hissy fits about it and no evidence whatsoever.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-11 21:37

      grant.coffey.5 - October 11, 2012 at 20:19 And your 300 years of research, deductions and speculations have brought your how close to creating life out of nothing again! Oh, thought so, nowhere! So really, try again when you have something to say!

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-12 06:04

      //And your 300 years of research, deductions and speculations have brought your how close to creating life out of nothing again! Oh, thought so, nowhere! So really, try again when you have something to say!// It's always great to see someone typing on their PC computer free from polio try to arbitrarily decide whether or not science is successful, based solely on their ignorance of it and the previous argument they just lost.

      frank.cornelissen.1 - 2012-10-12 07:01

      grant.coffey.5 - October 12, 2012 at 06:04 I see you still have nothing to say! Skirting around the question of creating life out of nothing cannot be wished away with this stupidity that you are trying here. Real science that has a benefit to human and animal kind is very far removed from the stupidity of trying to figure out how the cell waked out of the soup! Don't be eternally stupid, man!

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-12 19:34

      //I see you still have nothing to say!// Well actually I have 3 posts but when you ignore 300 years worth of research I guess it's not a big leap. //Skirting around the question of creating life out of nothing cannot be wished away// Skirting around how you assert authority to claim scientific topics valid or not, when you display such an incredible ignorance on the topic just dilutes whatever it is you saying. //with this stupidity that you are trying here.// Rolling around in my underwear in the rain, would still not be as stupid as personally deciding that the entire qualified scientific community is wrong based on personal intuition. //Real science that has a benefit to human and animal kind is very far removed from the stupidity of trying to figure out how the cell waked out of the soup!// There's really only one thing to say to someone who thinks that there is no benefit to be gained from understanding the chemical construction and evolution of human biology: //Don't be eternally stupid, man!// Tell us again about the rib woman and the invisible sky dad.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-12 19:40

      //Real science that has a benefit to human and animal kind// I question the motivation of anyone who decides that the advancement of our knowledge as a species is of poor value, or worse that the value of the knowledge is measured in physical gains from it. Thank you for pointing out the true nature of the fundie.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-11 07:16

    The brain of this bug was inherited unchanged by Zuma, Malema and Mantashe. So much for evolution.

  • jaco.kriek.5 - 2012-10-11 07:53

    Yawn yawn yawn.... not at the article, but at the atheist rants. Why do atheist have such a need to force their opinion onto others? A believer (of any faith), tries to convert non-believers so that their souls can be saved, but atheists don't believe that souls need saving, so why always try and force their "non-belief" onto others? it baffles me.....

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 08:00

      Quite right Jaco, There actually should be laws stopping the spreading of these lies. Every natural history museum, every university bio department and every peer-reviewed science journal in the entire world is taking part in a vast conspiracy against the truth. Even religious leaders like Pope John Paul are in on it. We Christians need to speak out against these "scientists". What do they know? Just because they've spent their lives studying rock formations, that doesn't mean they can tell us how? the Grand Canyon was formed. WE MUST STOP THIS WORK OF SATAN. SATAN IS BEHIND THESE LIES. What they stil have to learn that there are no air conditioners in hell so good luck t them. GOD BLESS YOU JACO.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-10-11 08:40

      You tell them Huck. Those damn Annunaki, that are out to form a new-world order, started this whole "evilution" fairy tale. They did it so we fight amongst each other, while planet Nibiru comes closer, day by day. And then, on 23:59 20/12/2012, our slavery begins. We will be their gold-mining slaves. I only wish one of the females chooses me as a sex slave. I'm not built for physical labour. Hehehe...

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 08:51

      Heathen - that is what uu are all right. Where in the Bible does it say those things. If its not in the Bible then it is not true.

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-10-11 09:00

      If it is not in the "Ancient Recipe", chronicling the true history of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it is not true... R'amen.

      coenraad.vanderwesthuizen.3 - 2012-10-11 09:18

      Huck.starr is a troll. Don't feed him.

      jackie.botha.10 - 2012-10-11 10:50

      why is it that when you believe in science you may not be a Christian? Why is it that I am a Christian, but I actually still believe that a spineless bug could've lived a million years ago. The Bible start when God created it, but the stories start when there was human beings on earth. This is the only time that information could've been recorded. Yes, there is proof of Dinosaurs, so what? Because there is a dinosaur does it mean that God suddenly falls out of the picture? No! Atheists is more than welcome to continue not believing in anything or anyone but hard proven facts. Go ahead, who is stopping you? But I choose to believe in my God and science...

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-10-11 16:00

      The fact that dinosaurs lived millions years ago, means that the Torah, on which the Bible and Koran is based, has lies in it. Now, with you unable to figure out what is lies and what is truth, you shouldn't be able to use the Bible as a guide anymore, since it cannot be trusted. A logical person can, after realizing this, still HOPE there is a god, AND follow science. But that wouldn't be the Abrihamic god YHWH, you wouldn't be a Jew/Muslim/Christian. You would basically be a plain agnostic theist/deist.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-11 20:26

      //A believer (of any faith), tries to convert non-believers so that their souls can be saved, but atheists don't believe that souls need saving, so why always try and force their "non-belief" onto others?// So you admit you're forcing your beliefs then?

      jaded.oldfart - 2012-10-11 22:37

      if you can't discern huck's sarcasm, you're not intelligent enough to be an atheist.

  • jay.blaze.16 - 2012-10-11 08:18

    520 million-year-old? Dated how? "The fossil was deposited in mudstone during the Cambrian period" Aah, the infamous Geologic Column method, of course! What a joke! Especially since there are many places on earth where fosillized trees are found intersecting many layers of rock that are 'dated' by the geologic column at tens of millions of years. Some of them are upside down, too. These are known as 'polystrate fossils', and show clearly that the geologic column is a hoax!! Unless those trees managed to stay there for millions of years while sediment was deposited around them over millions of years! Yeah, right! It also doesn't help that there are places where the layers are completely upside down. Hundreds of square kilometers of deposits that are in reverse order! But then, they don't like to talk about that now do they! What a load of BS!!

      huck.starr - 2012-10-11 08:35

      Hi jay I am so pleased to see so may real Christians come out to defend God and Jesus name against these lies. The only true dating method is the Bible and the Bible and the Bible says that the world is only 6000 years old and was created by God in 6 days. These athiest scientis go and dig around and find these fossils and what do they prove. They prove that the world was flooded by God and that these animals were buried in the flood that covered every bit of the whole world to the top of the highest mountains. God says so in the Bible and that is what i know to be true so we can just ignore these lies about carbon dating millions of years ago. There was no millions of years ago.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-10-11 08:41

      Wow Jay! Did you study modern paleontology? Do pray tell where you did you degree? Wits? UJ? Perhaps UFS? I am keen to find out, really, I am, since you are obviously just the total fountain of wisdom here. Capable of proclaiming a whole field of scientific inquiry as "a load of BS" does suggest you had made a *huge* effort to learn all there is to know about this field. Tell me, under which professors did you do you PhD? ... oo, wait, lemme guess, your 'wisdom' comes from googling creationist sites? aah... okay, to the rest of the world: "ssshhh be vewwy vewwy quiet. and step away from the lies."

      SarcasticAgnostic - 2012-10-11 08:55

      To date anything in those sediments, carbon dating is useless. They had to use either Potassium-Argon dating or one of the Uranium-Lead dating methods, depending on the rocks in the immediate vicinity.

      jody.beggs - 2012-10-11 09:24

      What an indoctrinated chop ....

      Thermophage - 2012-10-11 09:49

      Hey Jay, how about you come talk to me directly. I'm a geologist and my partner is a geologist/palaeontologist. I think we could explain a few things to you and show you some things in the field that would make you sing a different tune buddy.

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-11 12:05

      So you reckon the geologic time scale is a hoax? Well that must be the most elaborate conspiracy ever! I mean with hundreds of thousands of geologists, paleontologists and other scientists all in on it, every single museum, university and governmental research institution, all in on it!? LOL, read a book dude.

      grant.coffey.5 - 2012-10-11 20:16

      //520 million-year-old? Dated how?// //infamous Geologic Column method, of course! What a joke// I don't recall reading this anywhere in the article, but I suppose if you can make up a personal deity every other lie is minuscule in comparison. //polystrate fossils// And their origins have been know since before the 1900's. Do you have any "science" from this milennium? //Hundreds of square kilometers of deposits that are in reverse order// So we've been drilling deep into the earth for fossil fuels for nothing? Is the oil that's reversed its layer also invisible like your god?

  • winston.smit.9 - 2012-10-11 08:36

    Isn't it one of those Star Gate critters? Finally, proof!

      coenraad.vanderwesthuizen.3 - 2012-10-11 10:02


  • coenraad.vanderwesthuizen.3 - 2012-10-11 08:56

    I see the Creationist trolls are out at full force.

  • jody.beggs - 2012-10-11 09:25

    Science and logic rule ! Damn the man , save the planet from the mind virus better known as Religion!

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