A hundred years from now, Sir David Attenborough’s body may have turned to dust, but a fossilised sea creature, thought to represent Earth’s earliest animal predator, will continue to bear his name.
Discovered in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, where Attenborough hunted for fossils as a child, the creature predates what was previously thought to be the oldest predator by 20m years.
Palaeontologists have named it Auroralumina attenboroughii, in honour of the TV presenter.
Although Attenborough dug there as a child, he avoided the rocks where Auroralumina has been discovered.
The discovery turned out to be one of the oldest fossilised animals, and was named Charnia masoni, in Mason’s honour.
“It’s generally held that modern animal groups like jellyfish appeared 540m years ago in the Cambrian explosion.
But this predator predates that by 20m years,” said Dr Phil Wilby, palaeontology leader at the British Geological Survey, who helped to discover it. »