Scientists have solved the mystery of how the first animals appeared on Earth, a pivotal moment for the planet without which humans would not exist. Researchers led by The Australian National University (ANU) analysed ancient sedimentary rocks from central Australia, finding that the evolution of animals began with the rise of algae 650 million years ago. “We crushed these rocks to powder and extracted molecules of ancient organisms from them,” said Jochen Brocks, associate professor at ANU. “These molecules tell us that it really became interesting 650 million years ago. It was a revolution of ecosystems, it was the rise of algae,” said Brocks, who led the research published in the journal Nature.