Spot the family resemblance? The newly identified collodictyon is closer to human beings than to bacteria, according to the Norwegian scientists
Scientists say they have found one of the world's oldest living organisms and man's remotest relative - after spending two decades examining a microscopic algae-eater that lives in a lake in Norway.
They have even had to invent a new category of organism for it called Collodictyon because it is not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or alga, they said.
They said the elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago.
"We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life that lives in this lake. It is unique!" University of Oslo researcher Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi said.
"So far we know of no other group of organisms that descends from closer to the roots of the tree of life than this species."
Scientists believe the discovery may provide insight into what life looked like on earth hundreds of millions of years ago.