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News From the Field
Researchers Find Earliest Evidence for Animal Life

February 4, 2009

sponges An international team of scientists has found the oldest evidence for animals in the fossil record. The researchers examined sedimentary rocks in south Oman, and found an anomalously high amount of steroids that date back to 635 million years ago, to around the end of the last ice age. The steroids are produced by sponges. The discovery of the sponges is evidence for multicellular animal life beginning 100 million years before the Cambrian explosion. Full Story

University of California, Riverside

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, its budget is $7.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 48,000 competitive proposals for funding, and makes about 11,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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