via Science

The reasons for why life originated are still not completely clear for scientists but researchers are working nonstop to try and find answers to this mystery.

The construction of the genealogical tree of life on Earth has been carried out through fossils and samples of organic material that scientists have been able to gather from all over the world. Thanks to modern technology, those fossils and samples can be studied with great depth and precision.

A group of fossils found buried in mudflows in the Burgess Shale in Canada is believed to hold many secrets about the origins of some of Earth’s first animals. Until now, it is believed that all these animals would have lived in more or less the same space relatively close to each other, however, a new study tries to debunk that idea.

Scientists from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, have created a model with which they intend to show that these animals actually lived nowhere near each other but instead, their remains were transported over great distances by mudflows throughout millions of years.

The study indicates that the animals that emerged during the Cambrian explosion – a process that is responsible for most of the great biological diversity of the planet – did not necessarily live together despite the fact that their fossils have been found nearby.

“This finding might surprise scientists or lead to them striking a more cautionary tone in how they interpret early marine ecosystems from half a billion years ago,” said Nicholas J. Minter, one of the authors of the study.

These discoveries could change the way scientists study the evolution of animals and thus better understand the composition and origin of life diversity on our planet.