WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have discovered the oldest recognized ancestor of octopuses – an roughly 330 million-year-old fossil unearthed in Montana.
The researchers concluded the traditional creature lived thousands and thousands of years previous than in the past believed, which means that octopuses originated prior to the technology of dinosaurs.
The 4.7-inch (12-centimeter) fossil has 10 limbs — trendy octopuses have 8 — every with two rows of suckers. It most definitely lived in a shallow, tropical ocean bay.
“It is very uncommon to seek out comfortable tissue fossils, with the exception of in a couple of puts,” mentioned Mike Vecchione, a Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Herbal Historical past zoologist who was once now not concerned within the find out about. “This can be a very thrilling discovering. It pushes again the ancestry a lot farther than in the past recognized.”
The specimen was once came upon in Montana’s Endure Gulch limestone formation and donated to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada in 1988.
For many years, the fossil sat lost sight of in a drawer whilst scientists studied fossil sharks and different reveals from the web page. However then paleontologists spotted the ten tiny limbs encased in limestone.
The well-preserved fossil additionally “presentations some proof of an ink sac,” most definitely used to squirt out a dismal liquid cloak to assist to evade predators, identical to trendy octopuses, mentioned Christopher Whalen, an American Museum of Herbal Historical past paleontologist and co-author of the find out about printed Tuesday within the magazine Nature Communications.