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Klaudia Edward
Jan 12

Evolution of ctenophores?

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Jan 12
Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, are a group of marine animals that have a unique evolutionary history. The exact origin and early evolution of ctenophores is still a subject of scientific debate, but recent studies suggest that they diverged from other animal lineages around 700 million years ago.

The earliest known ctenophore fossils date back to the Cambrian period, around 520 million years ago. These fossils show that ctenophores already had many of their characteristic features, such as their comb-like rows of cilia (hence the name "comb jellies") and their bioluminescent properties.

Ctenophores have a relatively simple body plan compared to other animals, with a gelatinous body and a central mouth surrounded by tentacles. They are also known for their unique ability to propel themselves through the water using their cilia, which creates a shimmering effect.

The evolutionary relationships of ctenophores to other animal groups have been a subject of much debate. Traditionally, they were considered to be one of the earliest branching animal lineages, along with sponges. However, recent molecular studies have challenged this view and suggested that ctenophores may be more closely related to cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones).

One of the key features that distinguishes ctenophores from other animals is their unique set of genes involved in development and cell adhesion. These genes, known as "ctenophore-specific genes," are not found in other animal groups and may have played a crucial role in the evolution of ctenophores' unique body plan.

Overall, the evolution of ctenophores is still a topic of ongoing research, and further studies are needed to fully understand their evolutionary history and their relationships to other animal groups.

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