WASHINGTON D.C., March 9, 2015 - Image provided by Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of China on March 9, 2015 shows a scanning electronic microscope image of a 600 million-year-old primitive sponge fossil. Animals have been on Earth for at least 600 million years, research led by Chinese scientists confirmed Monday. The study, published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, described a well-preserved, rice grain-sized primitive sponge fossil recovered from 600-million-year rocks in southwest China's Guizhou Province.

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