New animal called “mold pig” is discovered by scientists
Scientists live off discoveries, but one animal that lived millions of years ago has confused experts because it does not fit into any current animal category. According to the scientists, who published the recent finding in Invertebrade Biology, the animal is tiny, no more than the width of a human hair and so “bizarre” that it cannot be compared to any other known animal group.
Called the "mold pig, " he had a mold-based diet, as the nickname suggests, and had a dark, tiny pig-like appearance. Oregon State University researchers say the animal is about one tenth of a millimeter long, has a flexible head and four pairs of legs.
The "mold pig" has characteristics similar to those of mites and tardigrades - little monsters of only millimeters. Despite the similarities, the animal is so unlike anything known that it has been listed as a new genus in a single family.
Scientist George Poinar explains that it is not uncommon to find small, fragile and unknown fossil invertebrates. This time the scientists found a fragment of the original preserved million-year-old habitat. “Mold pigs cannot be placed in any currently existing invertebrate group. They share characteristics with tardigrades and mites, but clearly do not belong to any group, "he points out.
The mold pig lived 30 million years after the dinosaurs, but scientists don't know where it came from, where it went or are still here. “We don't know when their lineage originated, how long it lasted, or whether there are descendants living today, ” says Poinar.