about the episode
The fossil in which Khas was discovered is 525 million years old. It was found in 1984, but only now researchers can see what was hidden inside.
It is a fossil of a worm-like marine creature about 1.5 cm long with many short, small legs, like a centipede. You can still find distant relatives in Australia, New Zealand and South America, but the animal itself died out long ago.
For a long time it was believed that the brain does not fossilize and it is completely useless to look for it in the fossil of such a small animal. We now know that this is possible.
In this new study, they not only found the tiny brain of this worm-like animal, which they believe should be the oldest fossilized brain ever found, but also compared it to the brains of living arthropods. For example, they saw that the structures of the brain and the genes responsible for it are identical.
They also learned many other important things about the evolution of the animal’s nervous system. But it can at least show that the encephalogram in this group of animals originates from ancestors that crawled on the sea floor hundreds of millions of years ago.
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