‘Old­est eye’ in 530m-year fos­sil

Western Mail - - NEWS -

AN “ex­cep­tional” 530-mil­lion-yearold fos­sil con­tains what could be the old­est eye ever dis­cov­ered, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers.

The re­mains of the ex­tinct sea crea­ture in­clude an early form of the eye seen in many of to­day’s an­i­mals, in­clud­ing crabs, bees and dragon­flies.

Sci­en­tists made the find while ex­am­in­ing the well-pre­served fos­sil of a hard-shelled species called a trilo­bite.

These an­ces­tors of spi­ders and crabs lived in coastal wa­ters be­tween 541m and 251m years ago. The right eye of the fos­sil – un­earthed in Es­to­nia – was partly worn away, giv­ing re­searchers a clear view in­side the or­gan.

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