PhysOrg calls it “man’s remotest relative,” a living thing that has no branch on the tree of life. Why can’t they just call a shoggoth a shoggoth, man?:
The elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago and did not fit in any of the known categories of living organisms — it was not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or alga, they said.
“We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life that lives in this lake. It is unique!” University of Oslo researcher Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi said.
“So far we know of no other group of organisms that descends from closer to the roots of the tree of life than this species”, which has been declared a new category of organism called Collodictyon.
Scientists believe the discovery may provide insight into what life looked like on earth hundreds of millions of years ago.
Collodictyon lives in the sludge of a small lake called As, 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Oslo.
It has four flagella — tail-like propellers it uses to move around, and can only be seen with a microscope. It is 30 to 50 micrometers (millions of a metre) long.
The stars are right, folks. The stars are right.