Experts believe they first emerged up to 700 million years ago – compared to dinosaurs which only appeared around 230 million years ago.
Scientists in America have discovered the oldest living creature on our planet.
Experts have confirmed that it is a jellyfish-like organism called a ctenophore – also known as a comb jelly.
They first emerged up to 700 million years ago – a long time before dinosaurs, which only appeared around 230 million years ago.
The study also found that ctenophores are the closest relatives of the first animals – and they can still be spotted in oceans and aquariums today!
What have scientists found?
Biologists have spent years trying to find out what the earliest animals were.
Scientists gradually narrowed the possibilities down to two groups: sponges and comb jellies.
Sponges spend their entire adult lives in one spot, filtering food from seawater – while comb jellies swim their way deep down through the world’s oceans in search of food.
A new study involving researchers from the University of California, Berkeley has discovered that comb jellies have been around longer than sponges, which date back about 600 million years.
Did you know?
Ctenophores have eight sets of cilia – tentacle-like structures – running down their side. They use these to move themselves through the oceans in search of food.
Daniel Rokhsar from the University of California, Berkeley, explained that comb jellies are “the most recent common ancestor of all animals” and “probably lived 600 or 700 million years ago.”
More: Ctenophore: Scientists identify jellyfish-like animal as the oldest living creature on Earth