(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found the oldest ancestor of octopuses – a fossil about 330 million years old! After carefully studying the fossilized remains, American researchers came to the conclusion that octopuses arose before dinosaurs.
Who ruled the earth before the dinosaurs? Octopuses!
The 12 cm long fossil has 10 limbs (modern octopuses have eight) with two rows of suckers. He probably lived in a shallow tropical ocean bay. The specimen was found in the Bear Gulch Limestone Formation in Montana, USA.
“It’s very rare to find soft tissue fossils, except in a few places,” said Mike Vecchione, a zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “This is a very exciting find, as it pushes the lineage of these animals much further than we thought.”
Interestingly, scientists discovered the fossil back in 1988. It was donated to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, where it sat in a drawer for decades without being studied. The attention of scientists was riveted to fossil sharks from this area. However, scientists recently noticed that an octopus fossil has ten limbs, which caught their attention.
The remains of the animal are so well preserved that they “show some signs of an ink bag”. The creature was likely the ancestor of both modern octopuses and the vampire squid.
Prior to this discovery, the “oldest known fossil of the species” was an octopus dating back 240 million years. Scientists named the ancient fossil Syllipsimopodi bideni after President Joe Biden.
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