Scientists in the Ust-Maysky district have discovered the oldest organisms ever found, forms of life that shift the story of evolution backward 20 million years farther. Earlier science showed complex bodies of animals some 550 million years ago, but the new discoveries point to life in Earth's seas much earlier.
The organisms found in Yakutia are much more complicated than any found in animals of this era, according to Professor Andrey Zhuravlev, one of the paleontologists involved in a join Russia, China, and UK project. Excavations conducted by researchers from the three countries turned up minerals containing the fossilized skeletal remains of animals that can reveal the composition of Earth's oceans for the last half a billion years. Paleontologist RAS Andrey Ivantsova told the news agency TASS:
"The first animals were very complicated. Our coming laboratory studies will investigate oceanic precipitation to find out what has changed in the world's oceans, will be subjected to chemical analysis, the study of the acidity, the saturation level of oxygen."
Located in the Far East of Russia in the Sakha Republic, Ust-Maysky is one of the most sparsely populated areas in all Russia. This remote area at the southeastern most tip of the larger Yakutia region, it's one of the most primitive places on Earth in many ways. Noted for its vast mineral resources, the area has been studied for early human migrations in pre-history. These most recent discoveries shedding more light on just how much more there is to learn about the history of life on our planet. The remote areas seem to be a now continual source new discoveries from Mammoth remains to archeological and cultural wanderings like the past of the legendary Scythians.