The Earth’s early oceans were a dangerous place.
They may not have had fangs and they certainly couldn’t turn in to a bat, but despite that these tiny ‘vampire’ microbes would have represented a serious threat to early single-celled life forms.
Now direct evidence of their predatory behavior has been discovered for the first time in the form of fossil organisms with suspicious puncture holes that these carnivorous microbes would have used as a feeding tube through which to suck out their insides.
Scientists believe that this early form of predation would have spurred other life forms in to evolving new defensive capabilities and behaviors to help keep themselves alive.
“Once you make an organism, somebody else will figure out a way to utilize its juices,” said Paul Falkowski, an Earth systems scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
“It’s stupid to make armor unless you’re defending against a predator. Organisms that have no predation pressure will just have very simple membranes facing the outside world.”