Based on a recent discovery, researchers have concluded that asexual reproduction is possible. Scientists have discovered mysterious fossils within the proximity of the Newfoundland coastline which is 565 million years old.
The discovery was made by a group of researchers working for the University of Cambridge in England as they were looking for new organisms in the waters of Newfoundland. They have thus, came across ancient traces of marine organisms that looked like ferns.
Additional studies have revealed that the fossils belonged to the Fractofusus category of rangeomorphs. These early organisms only lived in marine environments, but they were, nonetheless, incredibly complex even though they were never exposed to the sunlight.
Scientists have concluded that the reproduction of rangeomorphs was accomplished through the division of their single-celled bodies, much like in the case of strawberries and similar plants. Researchers have justified their declaration by showing the cluster in which the Fractofusus exemplars were grouped when they were found. According to marine experts, the cluster contained traces belonging to two generations of organisms, bigger and older ones, surrounded by smaller and younger cells.
Although the newly found fossils cannot be labeled as plants nor as animals, scientists have concluded that they bear striking resemblances with the strawberries plants. The latter use the same reproduction system, involving the growth of younger offspring from older parts of the plant.
Jack Matthews, a rock expert at the University of Oxford, said he is now interested in explaining how the so-called grandparents of these fossils appeared considering that the fern-like cells used asexual reproduction. The only explanation he has found is that the Fractofusus can also reproduce through seeds called “propagules”.
Thus, these apparently simple organisms that lived on the bottom of the ocean, were in fact much more complex than anyone initially believed. There are many other contradictory facts related to rangeomorphs, such as the fact that they look like plants, but they do not require sunlight at all.
Matthews believes many more researches should be conducted in the future to solve the mystery surrounding these ancient fern-like creatures.
The current study was published in the journal Nature.
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