Archaeocyatha - an ancient ice cream cone - tells its
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! ...one 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
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
You can find out more about fossils on this site -- FOSSILS