The marine creatures evolved over 530 million years ago during the Cambrian period

A team of scientists led by University of Toronto undergraduate student Joseph Moysiuk has finally determined what a bizarre group of extinct cone-shaped animals actually are. Known as hyoliths, these marine creatures evolved over 530 million years ago during the Cambrian period and are among the first animals known to have produced mineralized external skeletons. Long believed to belong to the same family as snails, squid and other molluscs, a study published today in the prestigious scientific journal Nature shows that hyoliths are instead more closely related to brachiopods – a group of animals which has a rich fossil record, although few living species remain today.

— source utoronto.ca

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