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人類最早祖先化石出土 進食排泄用同口

(法新社巴黎30日電) 科學家最新研究顯示,目前已知人類最早的祖先,可能是約5億4000萬年前,1種以單口進食與排泄的蛋型生物。

刊登在科學期刊「自然」(Nature)的研究報告稱,科學家在中國大陸中部陝西省發現這些保存完好的小型生物化石,為其命名為「Saccorhytus」。

科學家推測,生物演化的數種主要分支起源就是這種微小的海洋生物,其中也包括演化為人類的1支。

Saccorhytus屬於後口動物總門,是目前出土最古老的化石,該研究認為這種生物是所有後口動物的共同祖先,包括脊椎動物、棘皮動物與其他種類。

這種化石以肉眼觀察時就像普通的黑色沙粒,該研究的共同作者、英國劍橋大學教授莫里斯(Simon Conway Morris)說:「但在顯微鏡下,觀察到的細節令人目瞪口呆。」

這種袋狀生物最大的特徵,就是擁有與體型相對較大的口部,週邊圍繞著突起腫塊,牠可能是以此吞噬食物顆粒或微生物。

研究人員並未發現任何肛門構造,因此推測消化後的廢物應由相同孔洞排出。

他們也發現8個圓椎型構造,應是用來排出吞入體內的水分,莫里斯告訴法新社,這可能是魚腮的前身。

但他也說:「我們並未找到出現眼睛的跡象。」

這些化石的起源可溯及長達5300萬年的寒武紀時期,生物演化與多樣性在此期間出現戲劇性增長,被稱為「寒武紀大爆發」。(譯者:中央社廖禹揚)

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