According to research, traces of cholesterol can be found in the fossils of some Ediacaran creatures – an indicator of animal cells. There are no such traces in the surrounding rocks; The lipid residues of algae and bacteria can be found there. Some fossils show a central gut-like region. As the analyses indicated, the lipid particles there were degraded by a significantly different microbial community than outside the fossil. There is also a lack of cholesterol residues there – an indication that this substance has been removed from the inside of the intestine by digestive processes to be absorbed into the organism of the Ediacara organisms.
Bobrovsky and his team interpret this as evidence that the organisms had a gut and a mouth and were already digesting their food (mainly algae and bacteria) in a similar way to modern animals. In any case, this applies to organisms such as Kimberla – a now extinct genus, whose representatives resemble flattened slugs with a shield in the form of a shield. According to the fossilized tracks they left, they crawled across the sea floor in shallow waters, grazing on mats of microbes. The supposition that they may have eaten algae and used them for their digestive system also fits with the fact that where you might have sat there was a so-called Phytosterols Detection of chemical compounds that occur in plants and algae.
The same couldn’t be said for the other Ediacarans the team studied. The group, led by Bobrovsky, analyzed fossils from Dickinsonia, another extinct genus from this period. Perhaps their representatives looked like quilted pillows or air mattresses that floated above the sea floor and fed on microorganisms. Their fossils, the team writes, contained no fatty remnants that would indicate digestive activity in the gut. Probably Dickinsonia Food is broken down externally—that is, outside the body—and then the nutrients are absorbed across the surface.
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