Early arthropod had a fancy brain

Fossil of segmented animal preserves three-part central nervous system

By Erin Wayman, 12:33 PM October 10, 2012

Rusty red stains on the head of a fossilized segmented creature found in southwestern China are a paleontological record-breaker: They are the remains of the oldest arthropod brain ever found. The imprint of the 520-million-year-old critter’s three-part brain indicates that complex nervous systems evolved fairly early in animal evolution, among the ancestors of insects, centipedes and crustaceans.

The roughly 7-centimeter-long specimen includes the entire body of Fuxianhuia protensa. The speci...

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