Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Flight of the hummingbird, termite cloning and the rise of the octopus

(Kenji Matsuura)


Octopus fossil
(Maura McCarthy)
Digging in Lebanon, scientists from the Freie University Berlin and elsewhere unearthed 95-million-year-old octopus fossils—the oldest, most complete specimens of their kind. Typically, a dead octopus doesn't fossilize; lacking a skeleton, it decays without a trace. It's not clear how these were preserved. And since the fossils (a specimen with an ink sac) closely resemble modern animals, the researchers say octopuses must have evolved even earlier than they had thought.

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