This 520 Million-Year-Old Fossil Is So Intricate You Can See Individual Nerves

This 520 Million-Year-Old Fossil Is So Intricate You Can See Individual Nerves
Image: Jie Yang

A team of scientists has discovered a fossil with what may be the the oldest and most well-preserved example of a central nervous system ever found. Uncovered in southern China, the specimen goes by the name of Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis and clocks in at roughly 520 million years old.

The Cambrian creature is roughly 10 centimeters long. Its central nervous system was so beautifully intact that researchers were able to see individual nerves.

“[U]nder normal circumstances it is extremely difficult to obtain preservation of soft tissues, as these decay rapidly and lose most of the morphological information,” Javier Ortega-Hernández, one of the researchers involved in the fossil’s discovery, told Motherboard. “However, there are cases in which…

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