- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Fossilised embryos are the work of bacteria
Animal fossils are usually the remains of hard structures – bones and shells that have been petrified through enormous pressures acting over millions of years. But not all of them had such hard beginnings. Some Chinese fossils were once the embryos of animals that lived in the early Cambrian period, some 550 million years ago. Despite having the consistency and strength of jelly, the embryos have been exceptionally well preserved and the structure of their individual cells, and even the compartments within them, have been conserved in all their beautiful, minute detail.
They are a boon to biologists. Ever since the work of Ernst Haeckel in the 19th century, comparing the development of animal embryos has been an