Away from the world of birdlife and conservation advocacy, I’m still a cell/molecular/developmental biologist, and evolution is still very cool stuff to ponder. And this, is fascinating…
First Evolutionary Branching For Bilateral Animals Found [ScienceDaily]:
Through a laborious genetic sequencing analysis, Dunn and an international team of scientists have settled the long-standing debate and determined that acoelomorpha belongs as a sister clade to other bilateral animals. The finding is significant, Dunn said, because it shows the worm is a product of the deepest split within the bilateral animals, the first evolutionary divergence within the group. Because of that, scientists have gained a key insight into the most recent common ancestor to bilaterians, a species that remains unknown.
- Andreas Hejnol, Matthias Obst, Alexandros Stamatakis, Michael Ott, Greg W. Rouse, Gregory D. Edgecombe, Pedro Martinez, Jaume Baguñà, Xavier Bailly, Ulf Jondelius, Matthias Wiens, Werner E. G. Müller, Elaine Seaver, Ward C. Wheeler, Mark Q. Martindale, Gonzalo Giribet, and Casey W. Dunn. Assessing the root of bilaterian animals with scalable phylogenomic methods. Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0896