Experts thought that Cotyledion tylodes may have belonged to the jellyfish-like cnidarian group, but new anatomical evidence from the animal's fossilised remains suggests the species was an early member of the group of small marine organisms called entoprocts.
Results of the study, by an international research team, suggest that entoprocts appeared earlier than previously thought.
Entoprocts are small organisms that feed by straining food particles from water.
Some anatomical characteristics of Cotyledion tylodes are comparable to those of modern entoprocts, especially the presence of a U-shaped gut with a mouth and anus surrounded by a crown of tentacles.
Its body was covered in external, hardened structures called sclerites, which are not found on modern entoprocts.