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Tag Archives: Evolution
The biggest project of genetic study of birds, called Avian Phylogenomics Consortium, has started giving results. 29 articles have been published of which 8 on a special issue of the journal “Science” and the other 21 in “Genome Biology”, “GigaScience” and other magazines. This project engaged for four years over two hundred scientists in many institutes of twenty nations that digged deep as never before with the study of the evolution of birds showing how there was a sort of Big Bang after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
A group of researchers at the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum in Australia published in the journal “BMC Evolutionary Biology” an article that explains why vetulicolians, which are those belonging to the phylum Vetulicolia, could be the strangest relatives of humans.
These creatures had lived in the Cambrian, 500 million years ago, and their fossils were discovered for the first time more than a century ago, in 1911, but their taxonomic status remained uncertain. After this new research, things could change.
The research on the evolution of the fish that gave rise to the tetrapods gradually adapting to life on land are generally carried out by examining fossils such as the Tiktaalik roseae, a species dating back to the Devonian period, about 375 million years ago. Instead, a study published in the journal “Nature” was conducted by three scientists from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, studying modern fishhes, the gray bichir, also known as the Senegal bichir or Cuvier’s bichir (scientific name Polypterus senegalus), studying their behavior on land.
Hallucigenia, an animal lived in the Cambrian period, between 520 and 505 million years ago, has been considered for decades a really weird animal, hence the name. It looked like it could be part of a family that got extinct but the discovery of new fossils allowed to study it better since the ’90s. Now according to a new research carried out at the University of Cambridge hallucigenia, or rather the hallucigenia genus, is a lobopode, related to modern velvet worms, part of the Onychophora phylum.
The discovery of new fossils of Metaspriggina walcotti allowed to shed light on the origin of some of the characteristics of the chordates, animals with a backbone structure which in vertebrates has become the spine. It’s an animal lived about 500 million years ago, during the Middle Cambrian period. Due to their worm-like appearance and a length that could reach 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches), they don’t seem like much but they could be the ancestors of all vertebrates living today.
The Burgess Shale is an area in Canada very well known in the world of paleontology because it represents an extraordinary reservoir of fossils from the Middle Cambrian, which is about five hundred million years ago. In 2012, in Kootenay National Park, about 40 km from the original site, a new deposit of fossils was discovered described in a paper just published in the journal “Nature Communications”.