As the Earth shook off massive shrouds of glacial ice 600 million years ago, an alien world blossomed on the ocean floors.

No complex animals prowled the seas of the Ediacaran Period. Instead, the depths held microbial mats and strange, frond-like creatures that resembled nothing alive today. Palaeontologists have suggested this was a sort of Garden of Eden, wiped away by the more vibrant fauna of the following Cambrian Period.