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Sea sponge probably the first animal to have evolved in Earth

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A group of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of technology have discovered that sea sponges were the first animal to have appeared on earth based on a fossil record that predates Cambrian explosion.

Flash points

  • Scientists found trace of rare molecules from a fossil dated before Cambrian explosion which occurred 540 million years agoEarth's first animal
  • The rare molecule 24-Isopropylcholesterol was found to be present in sea sponges probably making it to be the first evolved organism
  • The theory was proved by a research which analysed which gene was responsible for producing 24-IPC and which organisms contained it
  • After analysis of genes of 30 organisms, a special gene known as sterol methyl transferase (SMT),can cause an organism to produce 24-IPC if present in correct number of copies was found
  • This gene was present in sea sponges and algae
  • However an evolutionary tree further showed Sea sponges produced the gene much earlier than Algae
  • Thus sea sponges are proved to be found 640 million years ago

Points to note

  • This research was headed by David gold
  • The research is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Cambrian explosion-541-514 million years ago