Old worms

Published: Monday 15 March 1999

The ancestors of major animal groups may have existed 700 million years earlier than biologists realised. The fossil record suggests an "explosion" of animal life 530 million years ago, when many groups appeared. But a team led by Blair Hedges of Pennsylvania State University has traced the origins of nematode worms to as astonishing 1.2 million years ago ( Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B , Vol 266, p163).

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