Name: Saccorhytus ‭(‬Nag wrinkle‭)‬.
Phonetic: Sak-ko-rie-tus.
Named By: Jian han,‭ ‬Simon Conway Morris,‭ ‬Qiang Ou,‭ ‬Degan Shu‭ & ‬hai Huang‭ ‬-‭ ‬2017.
Classification: Animalia,‭ ‬Deuterostomia.
Species: S.‭ ‬coronarius‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Detritivore‭?
Size: About‭ ‬1.3‭ ‬millimetres across.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Shaanxi province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Kuanchuanpu Formation.
Time period: Fortunian of the Cambrian.
Fossil representation: At least forty-five individuals.

       The discovery of Saccorhytus was also the discovery of one of the oldest animal lifeforms on the planet.‭ ‬Saccorhytus had a small round body that measured up to‭ ‬1.3‭ ‬millimetres across,‭ ‬with a mouth opening very large for the size of the body.‭ ‬At the time of its description there was no other observable opening in the body,‭ ‬not even an anus.‭ ‬This‭ ‬might mean that whatever Saccorhytus ate may have been digested completely within the body,‭ ‬or indigestible waste was ejected from the mouth.‭ ‬There are however small cones on the surface of the body.‭ ‬These may have allowed water trapped within the mouth to flow out when the mouth was closed.‭ ‬The body of Saccorhytus was covered in a flexible cuticle.‭ ‬Saccorhytus is thought to have lived amongst grains of sand at the bottom of bodies of water.
       When Saccorhytus was first described it made a lot of‭ ‬headlines,‭ ‬often being dubbed as the earliest human ancestor.‭ ‬This is a bit of a stretch of the imagination however,‭ ‬the reality is this.‭ ‬Saccorhytus has been identified as a deuterostome and thus a member of the Deuterostomia.‭ ‬Vertebrates‭ (‬animals with backbones,‭ ‬that also includes us‭)‬,‭ ‬are first to be distantly descended from this group of animals.‭ ‬This means that if you go far enough back by many hundreds of millions of years,‭ ‬the human evolutionary line may well be traced somewhere within this group.‭ ‬But there is no definitive evidence that proves that the Saccorhytus genus is‭ ‘‬the‭’ ‬ancestor,‭ ‬as has been claimed in some popular science articles.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Meiofaunal deuterostomes from the basal Cambrian of Shaanxi‭ (‬China‭)‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Nature.‭ ‬542‭ (‬7640‭)‬:‭ ‬228‭–‬231.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Jian han,‭ ‬Simon Conway Morris,‭ ‬Qiang Ou,‭ ‬Degan Shu‭ & ‬hai Huang‭ ‬-‭ ‬2017.


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