The inhabitants of the tubes on the brachiopods was the oldest kleptoparasite

Chinese paleontologists have found in sediments of Cambrian age 512 million years accumulation of brachiopods with numerous tubes on the shells. Tube, apparently, belonged to some other invertebrates, and located so that people could pick up some food from brachiopods. This is still the oldest documented example of kleptoparasitism — periodic appropriation of foreign resources, write scientists in Nature Communications.

Parasitic relationship — the cases when one organism takes part of the resources of another, usually without killing it — in nature occur very often. There is reason to believe that they largely determine the development of ecosystems and significantly influence on the evolution of organisms. Groups of organisms are exclusively parasites, such as myxosporidia, appeared in the Cambrian or even before. It shows molecular-genetic studies, but until the fossil was found with signs of damage, just caused by parasites, and not someone else, date from a later period — the Ordovician, the Silurian or even Devonian.

Paleontologists from Northwest University of China under the leadership Citea Zhang (Zhang Zhifei) found probably the oldest evidence of a parasitic relationship. They conducted excavations in the Cambrian deposits of the age of about 512 million years in Huangshan, Yunnan province, and found there the accumulation of the remains of brachiopods (brachiopods). Many on the outside of the shell was visible outgrowths in the form of tubes, diverging to the sides, like the rays of a fan.

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