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Wednesday, 4 February, 1998, 23:20 GMT
Ancient fossils may give new clues to evolution

Chinese and American scientists say they have discovered the oldest fossils yet seen of complex forms of animal life.

The fossils, found in a mine in southern China, are less than a millimetre in size, but scientists say the individual cells in their bodies can be seen.

They say the fossils, thought to be nearly 600 million years old, may give important clues about a period of evolution known as the Cambrian explosion, when there was a great diversification of life.

The fossils are said to have been preserved by local minerals.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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