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Earth's First Animal

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LiveScience: “Scientists Zero in on Earth’s Original Animal” This just in: sea sponges are not the oldest animal around, according to a recent evolutionary analysis.

Back in April of last year we covered a “new study mapping the evolutionary history of animals” that “shocked” scientists: sophisticated comb jellies, not simple sea sponges, were the world’s oldest animal lineage.

“A group of amoeba-shaped creatures called Placozoans” hold the title for world’s oldest animal.

Now, yet another study has come out against sea sponges, but it isn’t comb jellies at the base of the animal tree of life this time; instead, “a group of amoeba-shaped creatures called Placozoans” hold the title for world’s oldest animal. The analysis was performed by American Museum of Natural History scientists Rob DeSalle and Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, and, according to LiveScience, confirms other genetic studies.

Of course, all such genetic studies presuppose evolution because they conclude all genetic differences are the result of millions of years of mutations.

More interesting is that, based on their reconstruction of the supposed animal tree of life, DeSalle and Kolokotronis believe nervous systems evolved separately in both “lower” and “higher” animal groups. “Things in organisms that look alike a lot of times aren’t really derived from a common ancestor,” DeSalle said. “The nervous system of cnidarians and Bilateria are constructed with the same molecules and often times using the same genes. But it is possible that the cnidarians’ nervous system really is not the same nervous system found in Bilaterians.” As if it’s not incredible enough to believe the nervous system evolved once, these evolutionists are quite credulous that it could have evolved twice—or more!

And as for comb jellies, well—we guess they had their fifteen minutes of fame!


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