Scientists have identified the farthest southern Norway relative to mankind: a microorganism rarely offering a new perspective on life on Earth 1,000 million years ago.
Researchers have studied for two decades microscopic organism that lives in a lake in Norway, concluding that it is one of the oldest creatures on earth and also the most distant ancestor of all living things, and so human.
Unicellular creatures evolved a billion years ago, and scientists say they do not fall in any category in which living organisms are classified. Thus, neither animal nor plant, or protozoan, or fungus, or algae.
“It’s an unknown branch of the tree of life – a unique industry,” said Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, a researcher at the University of Oslo.
“So far I have not found any other group of organisms that are closer to” roots “the tree of life than this species. It is a micro-cosmos to the primary telescope,” added the scientist.
The new category was named the Collodictyon bodies. Organism lives in the mud found in a small Norwegian lake, called Ace, located 30 kilometers south of Oslo.
Researchers believe the discovery may provide new perspectives on life on Earth hundreds of millions of years.
Organism has four flagella – filaments that look like tails, which it uses for propulsion. Body measures between 30 and 50 micrometers, is observable only with a microscope.
Like plants, fungi, algae and animals (including humans) are eukaryotic organisms Collodictyon containing cell nuclei covered by a membrane, unlike bacteria.
Based on characteristics Collodictyon, researchers can deduce how eukaryotic organisms looked prehistoric. Tabrizi said that they were probably unicellular organisms with finger-shaped extensions, they used to capture microscopic prey.
“Collodictyon are social creatures. Prosperous when alone and when they do not have food, they resort to cannibalism,” said Dag Klaveness, a researcher who took part in the study.
As in Norway Lake is the only place where these bodies have been discovered so far.
“It is amazing that I still find bodies of this kind after all these years. They were located near our home for millions of years and we have not seen,” said Tabrizi.
Collodictyon was first discovered 20 years ago researchers at the University of Oslo. They were recognized at the time that the body is unusual, but “did not realize how important it is,” concluded Tabrizi.