Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers say animal-like embryos preceded animal appearance

28.11.2019

Animals evolved from single-celled ancestors before diversifying into 30-40 distinct anatomical designs. When and how animal ancestors made the transition from single-celled microbes to complex multicellular organisms is unclear. But a new scientific study suggests animal-like embryological traits developed long before animals themselves.

The research - by an international research team led by scientists from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) and the University of Bristol - focused on ancient fossils of Caveasphaera, a multicellular organism found in 609-million-year-old rocks in South China's Guizhou Province that defies easy definition as animal or non-animal.


Three-dimensional reconstruction of a Caveasphaera specimen, showing cell structures.

Credit: NIGPAS

Using X-ray microscopy, the researchers analyzed the tiny fossils, which measure about a half-millimeter in diameter and were preserved down to their component cells. Various fossils displayed different stages of Caveasphaera development - from a single cell to a multicellular organism.

"We were able to sort the fossils into growth stages, reconstructing the embryology of Caveasphaera," said Kelly Vargas from the University of Bristol.

YIN Zongjun of NIGPAS interpreted the discovery: "Our results show that Caveasphaera sorted its cells during embryo development in just the same way as living animals, including humans." YIN emphasized, however, there is "no evidence that these embryos developed into more complex organisms."

Still, the discovery offers the earliest evidence of a key step in the evolution of animals - the capacity to develop distinct tissue layers and organs.

The verdict still seems to be out on whether Caveasphaera was itself an animal or just an important step in animal evolution, even as researchers search for more fossils. Co-author ZHU Maoyan of NIGPAS said, "Caveasphaera looks a lot like the embryos of some starfish and corals - we don't find the adult stages simply because they are harder to fossilize."

Whatever Caveasphaera turns out to be, its fossils tell us that animal-like embryonic development evolved long before the oldest definitive animals appeared in the fossil record.

###

This research was funded through the Biosphere Evolution, Transitions and Resilience (BETR) programme, which is co-funded by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

Media Contact

CHEN Xiaozheng
chxzh@nigpas.ac.cn

http://english.cas.cn/ 

CHEN Xiaozheng | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Environment Research embryos fossils multicellular single cell

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Structual color barcode micromotors for multiplex biosensing
21.01.2020 | Science China Press

nachricht Cyanobacteria in water and on land identified as source of methane
21.01.2020 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new look at 'strange metals'

21.01.2020 | Materials Sciences

Body's natural signal carriers can help melanoma spread

21.01.2020 | Health and Medicine

Structual color barcode micromotors for multiplex biosensing

21.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>