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500 million-year-old, bug-like fossils have stunningly preserved nervous systems

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Two tiny fossils, each smaller than an aspirin pill, contain fossilized nerve tissue from 508 million years ago. The bug-like Cambrian creatures could help scientists piece together the evolutionary history of modern-day spiders and scorpions.

Still, it’s not clear exactly where these fossils — both specimens of the species Mollisonia symmetrica — fit on the arthropod evolutionary tree, said Nicholas Strausfeld, a regents professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the study. 


Two tiny fossils, each smaller than an aspirin pill, contain fossilized nerve tissue from 508 million years ago. The bug-like Cambrian creatures could help scientists piece together the evolutionary history of modern-day spiders and scorpions.

Still, it’s not clear exactly where these fossils — both specimens of the species Mollisonia symmetrica — fit on the arthropod evolutionary tree, said Nicholas Strausfeld, a regents professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the study. 

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