A half-billion-year-old fossil of a strange Cambrian creature gives clues to vertebrate evolution

Sea squirts belong to the vertebrate sister group, meaning they shared a common ancestor hundreds of millions of years ago. (Image credit: Magdevski/Getty Images)

A Stunningly Preserved Half-Billion Year-Old Fossil of a Strange Cambrian creature could change our understanding of how a sister group of vertebrates evolved, a new study suggests.

The fossil, described on July 6 in the journal Nature Communicationis the oldest of the genus and belongs to an ancient species of tunicate, Megasiphon thylakos. The discovery answers a fundamental question about what early tunicates looked like, filling an important gap in the animal tree of life.

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