In the ocean depths off of Australia, 'alien' unclassifiable mushroom-shaped organisms have been found. Two species of the alien species were observed and they could not be put into any of the large class of living things.
A news report by Sydney Morning Herald said that the animals were called Dendrogramma and was made up of an outer skin and inner stomach that were separated by a layer of jelly-type material. The name Dendogramma has been given as it points to the branches in the digestive system, visible in the 'discs' in the mushroom shape.
The organism is about 1.5 centimetres in length and about 1 centimetre in width. It also has a combined mouth and anus in the stalk, which the scientists suspect point to the ocean floor sediments.
The lead scientist of the study from the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Jorgen Oleson, said that the new organisms that have been discovered could not be placed in any already recognised group of animals. He said that they seemed to represent early branch on life with resemblance to an Ediacara fauna, extinct about 600 million years ago.
Scientists have said that the ancient life forms could have been a failed attempt at multicellular life. The creatures were a part of the collection of organisms that were unearthed in 1986 from the south-east Australian continental slope 400 to 1000 metres deep, east of Bass Strait.
A neurobiologist from the University of Florida, Leonid Moroz told told National Geographic that if a connection was made that species were descendants of early life, then the finding could reshape the tree of life. The finding could also contribute to the better understanding of the evolution of animals, neuro-systems and different tissues. He added that it is possible that this can rewrite whole textbooks in zoology.
The researchers also said that Dendogramma could be related to the jellyfish group of animals called Cnidaria or to another group called Ctenophora. Stinging cells usually define the jellyfish and tentacles Ctenophora, but the Dendogramma lacks both.
Researchers have described the two new genus in the online journal, Plos One and suggest that they could also be 'living fossil'.