Photo: Dr Jim Gehling, South Australian Museum

Before dinosaurs, this strange eight-armed creature ruled the Earth:

Scientists have discovered what they believe is an eight-armed creature, which colonised a large section of the world’s oceans over 300 million years before the first dinosaurs emerged.

The findings represent the first comparable animal fossils from the Ediacaran Period, 635 to 541 million years ago, which appear in two drastically different preservation environments – black shale of South China and quartz rock of South Australia. […]

The eight arms are clearly preserved in our specimens,” says Zhu, adding that the arms were tubular and in close contact with each other, but not joined.

He and his colleagues believe the animal was a soft-bodied, dome-shaped organism that lived on seabeds and fed by absorbing dissolved nutrients from the ambient environment.

I, for one, welcome our extinct 8-armed overlord: Link