Archaeocyatha - an ancient ice cream cone

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Archaeocyatha -  an ancient ice cream cone  - tells its story...

Archaeocyatha - ancient life
Ok I look like an ice cream cone.

My name is Archaeocyatha - the name means "ancient cup" and I am an incredible  525, 000,000 years old, that is 525 million years ago!
I no longer live on earth - my species  became extinct by about 500 million years ago.
I arrived at a time  when the earth finally got reasonable levels of oxygen into the atmosphere and the earth exploded with life in the sea.
I lived my life anchored to the seabed  in warm tropical and sub-tropical waters in such numbers as to create the first ancient reefs.

Yes I look like an ice cream cone- actually two cones! ice cream cone inside a second ice cream cone.

Both cones are full of holes big enough  to let water through small enough  but trap particles.
No-one really knows how I fed but when some people have made a model of me and put it in flowing water...
I appeared to be able to filter particles of some sort of food out of the water a bit like a modern day sponge.

Most ancient creatures, if and when they turn into fossils only preserve the hard / solid bits
  a very very rarely  the soft fleshy bits.
So the fossil record generally shows only the creatures that were durable enough to become fossils.
Probably much of the ancient life was soft and squishy and never made it to being a fossil.
Think of all the creatures on the planet now that have very little chance of ever becoming fossils.
What are the chances of you - where you are now - becoming a fossil (pretty small!)
So fossils are a record of probably only a tiny selection of what the living planet was like in ancient times.

We must be careful in making general statements about ancient life, because our primary data set is incomplete and not particularly representative.
You can find out more about fossils on this site -- FOSSILS