Comb jellies proven to be the sibling group to all other animals

In a recent study published in Nature, a team of researchers including two UC Santa Cruz professors and a former UCSC grad student found that comb jellies, a marine invertebrate, are the most distantly related to all other animals, making them the earliest lineage to branch off the animal tree of life. The research resolves a centuries-old mystery around the pivotal moment when an ancient organism was responsible for the diverse array of animals present today. These findings give insight into how key features of animal anatomy have evolved over time, and they may allow for a better understanding of the evolution of life.

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