Glimpse into primordial times: Genetic analyses of a micro-organism that lives in the sludge of a lake in Ås, 30 km south of Oslo i Norway, are providing researchers with an insight into what the first life on Earth looked like. (Credit: UiO/MERG)

Glimpse into primordial times: Genetic analyses of a micro-organism that lives in the sludge of a lake in Ås, 30 km south of Oslo i Norway, are providing researchers with an insight into what the first life on Earth looked like. (Caption Credit: ScienceDaily) (Image Credit: UiO/MERG)

Meet Collodictyon, our oldest known ancestor.

And by ‘our’ I don’t mean just our oldest known ancestor, I mean everything remotely like us’ oldest known ancestor.

Pretty cool, pretty darn cool… and to my eye – it is a cryptozoological masterpiece, even though cryptozoologists were not involved in this tale. None that I know of, at least. Surprising where kindred souls pop up.

An entirely new organism has been found in a Norwegian lake; and gol dang it, man, it is neither plant, animal, fungi, algae or protist! Wa Hey!

Source 1 (PopSci) : New Primordial Protozoan Species Is Not in Any Known Kingdom of Life

“We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life that lives in this lake. It is unique! So far we know of no other group of organisms that descend from closer to the roots of the tree of life than this species,” study researcher Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, of the University of Oslo, in Norway, said in a statement.

A tiny microorganism found in Norwegian lake sludge may be related to the very oldest life forms on this planet, a possible modern cousin of our earliest common ancestor. It is not a fungus, alga, parasite, plant or animal, yet it has features associated with other kingdoms of life. It could be a founding member of the newest kingdom on the tree of life, scientists said.

Life on Earth is divided into two main groups, the prokaryotes and the eukaryotes. Prokaryotes are simple life forms, with no membranes or cell nuclei; this group includes bacteria and archaea. Eukaryotes, which include humans, animals, plants, fungi and algae, have cell membranes and nuclei. This new organism is a eukaryote.

Source for Source 1 (lots of details!): Science DailyRare Protozoan from Sludge in Norwegian Lake Does Not Fit On Main Branches of Tree of Life

This organism has several characteristics that set it apart from every other (currently) known kingdom:

Source 2 (MSNBC): Strange organism has unique roots in the tree of life

“The microorganism is among the oldest currently living eukaryote organisms we know of. It evolved around one billion years ago, plus or minus a few hundred million years. It gives us a better understanding of what early life on Earth looked like,” Shalchian-Tabrizi said.

What it looked like was small. The organism the researchers found is about 30 to 50 micrometers (about the width of a human hair) long. It eats algae and doesn’t like to live in groups. It is also unique because instead of one or two flagella (cellular tails that help organisms move) it has four.

It would appear that this little guy shares attributes of critters that belong within two other kingdoms, but is nonetheless considered by scientists to be sufficiently different from either of them that they have felt compelled to give it it’s own classification:

Because it has features of two separate kingdoms of life, the researchers think that the ancestors of this group might be the organisms that gave rise to these other kingdoms, the amoeba and the protist, as well. If that’s true, they would be some of the oldest eukaryotes, giving rise to all other eukaryotes, including humans.

I find all this most fascinating…

Other related articles:

Enjoy.

Peace.

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