While to the ordinary observer this may look like a goeey green blob, according to researchers at London's Imperial College, this is exactly what the Drakozoon, one of the world's oldest known living creature looked like, when it inhabited the earth, over 400 million years ago.
The 3-D image of the soft-bodied cone shaped Drakozoon that sported a 'hood', was created using the only known fossil of the creature, discovered six years ago in Hertfordshire, England, glued to the shell of a brachiopod.
To construct the image, researchers first sliced the fossil into 200 pieces - They then took a picture of each piece and fed all of them into a computer, which put it all together, to create these stunning life-like, 3D images.
The image has allowed them to not only envision what some of the earth's earliest inhabitants looked like, but also, provide an insight into how they lived.
The scientists believe that the sea creature, estimated to be only 3mm long, attached itself to rocks or other hard-shelled fish and lived off microscopic creatures, which it caught using its tentacles. While it is not very apparent from the images, the scientists were able to discern eight deep ridges, which they think was the beginning of the evolution of animals developing repeat body parts, similar to what the modern caterpillar looks like today.
The find and the subsequent research are groundbreaking since it is extremely rare to find such a perfect fossil of a soft-bodied creature. That's because they tend to decompose before they can be preserved in sediment. This particular Drakozoon happened to be living in an area that got covered in volcanic ash following an eruption, allowing for a perfect specimen.
sources:scientificcomputing.com, dailymail.co.uk, blogs.discovermagazine.com