Strausfeld Study Published in Science
Science, Vol. 378, No. 6622
Fossils of a tiny sea creature that died more than half a billion years ago may compel a science textbook rewrite of how brains evolved.
A study published in Science – led by Nicholas Strausfeld, a Regents Professor in the University of Arizona Department of Neuroscience, and Frank Hirth, a reader of evolutionary neuroscience at King's College London – provides the first detailed description of Cardiodictyon catenulum, a wormlike animal preserved in rocks in China's southern Yunnan province. Measuring barely half an inch (less than 1.5 centimeters) long and initially discovered in 1984, the fossil had hidden a crucial secret until now: a delicately preserved nervous system, including a brain.
"To our knowledge, this is the oldest fossilized brain we know of, so far," Strausfeld said.