You are more closely related to comb jellies than sponges, new study claims

The theory of evolutionism suggests that all life stems from the same root and that we are related, more or less distant, to every living thing on Earth. Our closest ancestors, as Charles Darwin has assumed, are found among great apes. But beyond this, confusion over the branching pattern of the tree of life means that things become less clear.

We know that life evolved from a common universal ancestor that gave rise to bacteria, archaea (other types of single-celled microorganisms), and eukaryotes (including multicellular organisms such as plants and animals). But what did the animals look like before? Have seen one in the last ten years Particularly hot debate On this question. Now our new study, Published in Science Advances, Has come up with an answer.

Sponge vs Comb Jelly

About ten years before the 19th century, there was a general consensus that our farthest relatives are Sponge. Sponges are so different from most animals that they were originally classified as members of the algae. However, genes and other features of modern sponges, such as the fact that they produce sperm cells, indicate that they are definitely animals. His uniqueness and simplicity certainly fit with the idea that sponges came first.

But in the last decade, this model Has been challenged By several studies comparing DNA from different animals. There are alternative candidates for our farthest animal relatives Comb jelly: Beautiful, transparent, globe-shaped animals were named after flickering comb-rows of cilia, which they killed to spread themselves through water.

Picture of comb jelly in an aquarium.