Monday, 21 January 2013

When Char, Sprig, Dick and Trib ruled the earth

An evolutionary tale for everyone.

On the seabed, some 600 million years ago, in warm, shallow waters, lived a group of strange looking creatures. They had exotic names such as Charnia, Spriggina, Dickinsonia and Tribrachidium.

As good friends do, Char, Sprig, Dick and Trib lived happily together on the slimy seabed, grazing on bacteria, and absorbing nutrients through their skin. They were literally spineless and toothless, but the four amigos did not care because they ruled the world!

Our tale ends with the evolution of the first organism with hard mouth-parts, a primitive predator, which must have come as a bit of a shock for Char, Sprig, Dick and Trib. Before any of them could mutter 'natural selection' the world's greatest arms race had started in earnest.

It is easy to understand why scientists have named this period in time the 'Garden of Ediacara', a deliberate and religious association with the Garden of Eden and the Ediacara hills where Char, Sprig, Dick and Trib left their marks forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment