Life was creeping and crawling about the Earth 1.5 billion years earlier than previously thought, scientists have found, in a discovery which could rewrite evolution.
Previously it was thought that creatures began moving properly at around 570 million years ago shortly before the Cambrian explosion which sparked the first vertebrates.
Bacteria had previously flicked their tails, or flagella, to move around but no multi-cellular organisms had achieved locomotion.
But fossils dating from 2.1 billion years ago have shown that cells had already started to group together to form tiny slug-like organisms which slunk through the mud of ancient sea beds in search of food.
The tubular fossils were found…