Funisia is a genus containing the single species F. dorothea, a fossil upright worm-like animal from the Ediacaran biota discovered in Australia.[1] Funisia stood about 0.3 metres tall.[2][3][4] Because individuals grew in dense collections of animals the same age, it is believed to have reproduced sexually.[3] Although the evolution of sex took place before the origin of animals, and evidence of sexual reproduction is observed in red algae 1,200 million years ago,[5] Funisia is one of the oldest known animals for which there is evidence of sexual reproduction.[4] Its relationship to other animals is unknown, but it may belong within the Porifera (sponges) or Cnidaria,[1] or it may have been a basal metazoan.[6] The genus and species were described in a 2008 paper.[1]

Temporal range: Ediacaran,
about 555 Ma
Funisia (science).jpg
Funisia specimens, as illustrated in the original article.
Scientific classification

Droser & Gehling, 2008
Binomial name
Funisia dorothea
Droser & Gehling, 2008


The generic name Funisia is after the Latin "Rope", and is pronounced to rhyme with Tunisia.[7] The name dorothea is in honor of Dorothy Droser, the mother of Mary L. Droser, one of the scientists who studied the organism.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Mary L. Droser and James G. Gehling (21 March 2008). "Synchronous Aggregate Growth in an Abundant New Ediacaran Tubular Organism". Science. 319 (5870): 1660–1662. doi:10.1126/science.1152595. PMID 18356525.
  2. ^ a b Smith, Lewis (March 21, 2008). "Fossil sheds light on the history of sex". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  3. ^ a b "Early life on Earth - no predators, plenty of sex". Reuters. 21 March 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Research shows Earth's earliest animal ecosystem was complex and included sexual reproduction". March 20, 2008. Source: University of California - Riverside via
  5. ^ Butterfield, N. J. (2000-09-01). "Bangiomorpha pubescens n. gen., n. sp.: implications for the evolution of sex, multicellularity, and the Mesoproterozoic/Neoproterozoic radiation of eukaryotes". Paleobiology. 26 (3): 386–404. doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2000)026<0386:BPNGNS>2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0094-8373. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  6. ^ D. H. Erwin, M. Laflamme, S., M. Tweedt, E. A. Sperling, D. Pisani, and K. J. Peterson. 2011. The Cambrian Conundrum: Early Divergence and Later Ecological Success in the Early History of Animals. Science 334(6059):1091-1097
  7. ^ Supporting online material