The comb jelly -- Earth's First Animal

A new study indicates that Earth's first animal was probably significantly more complex than previously believed.
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FOX News.com

Evolution Shocker: Sponge Wasn't First Form of Animal

Earth's first animal was the ocean-drifting comb jelly, not the simple sponge, according to a new find that has shocked scientists who didn't imagine the earliest critter could be so complex.
clipped from www.nsf.gov
National Science Foundation
Evolutionary history of the comb jelly reveals surprising clues about Earth’s first animal
clipped from www.nsf.gov
Photo of a comb jelly
A comb jelly. The evolutionary history of the comb jelly has revealed surprising clues about Earth's first animal.
Illustration showing two possible scenarios how complex comb jellies evolved before simpler sponges.
The comb jelly could only have achieved its apparent seniority over the simpler sponge via one of two new evolutionary scenarios: 1) the comb jelly evolved its complexity independently of other animals, after it branched off onto its own evolutionary path; or 2) the sponge evolved its simple form from more complex creatures--a possibility that underscores the fact that evolution is not necessarily just a march towards increased complexity, says Dunn. This scenario would provide a particularly dramatic example of that principle.
Photo of a comb jelly
A comb jelly

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