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SCIENTISTS have uncovered the earliest footprints left by animals on Earth, dating back more than half a billion years.
The astonishing discovery reveals how creatures with paired legs were seemingly scuttling around over 100million years earlier than we previously thought.
Footprints - Team - Scientists - Trackways - Burrows
The fossilised footprints were discovered by a team of scientists studying trackways and burrows in China.
We don't know exactly what species the footprints belong to, but scientists described the creature as a bilaterian animal, like an arthropod.
Appendages - Creature
This means it has paired appendages, and may have been a burrowing creature.
Experts previously believed that this type of creature appeared during the "Cambrian Explosion" around 541 to 510million years ago.
Fossils - Date - Ediacaran - Period - Years
But these new fossils date back to the Ediacaran Period, which lasted between 635 and 541million years ago.
They were discovered by researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Virginia Tech in the United States.
Scientists - Area - Denying - Formation - Yangtze
The scientists were examining a geological area known as the Denying Formation in the Yangtze Gorges area of South China.
The history of the planet in years...
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