The World's Oldest Sea Animal?

Did you know that this Spongebob is inspired by a species that lives on the ocean floor around coral reefs. This creature is a species known as a Aplysina fistularis.


Aplysina fistularis is a marine animal whose body is pores and can absorb water easily. They are similar to other animals that are heterotrophic (get their food from organic compounds), have many cells and produce sperm.

However, the sponge has no digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems. Aplysina fistularis are also very poor animals, cannot move freely and swim at will.

Therefore, they obtain foods like plankton, bacteria and oxygen by filtering the water that enters or pumps into their body.

Aplysina fistularis also play a role in our lives. In addition to inspiring the manufacture of synthetic dishwashing sponges as we see it today, the Aplysina fistularis also balances the marine ecosystem and 'cleanses' the marine environment.

In addition, Aplysina fistularis are also used in the research sector especially in the field of marine biotechnology to be a cure for many diseases.


A team of researchers led by Dr. David Gold of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has discovered genetic and paleontological evidence that the Aplysina fistularis is the oldest animal on earth. The results of this study have been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to an sharing from the Independent portal site, these Aplysina fistularis are believed to have existed since 640 million years ago.

Scientists from MIT have made the discovery by analyzing fossil molecules found in ancient rocks believed to be 640 million years old.

Scientists have focused on the 24-isopropylcholesterol (24-ipc) molecule, the sterol contained in the ancient rock.

They have examined 30 different genome organisms including plants, fungi, algae and 'spotted' Aplysina fistularis that have a gene associated with 24-ipc sterol and compared the genome.

The results showed that the Aplysina fistularis also had the same molecule as the ancient rock and was concluded to be the oldest animal on earth.

In an interview with MIT News, Dr. Gold stated that the discovery has opened many new questions such as 'how did these organisms look like in ancient times?' 'How was the environment?' 'And why is there such a big gap in the fossil record?' .

Again, there are many things about ancient animals that are still unknown, how many discoveries are 'left' and how useful molecular fossils are to fill in these gaps and issues.

To date, scientists have been working hard to find the earliest evidence of the creation of flora and fauna on earth and to try to uncover the secrets millions of years ago.

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