DailyDirt: The Tree Of Life
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Biology is a messy science. Nature doesn't lend itself to nice, orderly categories for people to understand. The tree of life is really tangled, and it's probably a bad analogy to start with. As we learn more about genetic analysis and find samples of ancient DNA, scientists are starting to reconsider some evolutionary processes. Here are just a few fascinating studies.
- A single-celled organism in Norway doesn't quite fit the label of being an animal, plant, fungus, alga or protist -- but it is a eukaryote because it has a cell membrane. This microorganism isn't easily classified, and it might be our oldest living ancestor. [url]
- Biologists are finding about 2,000 new marine species every year, but there are an estimated 700,000 to a million marine species living in the world's oceans. It's going to take a while to document all these organisms, and hopefully, we'll be able to do it before more species go extinct. [url]
- Evolutionary biologists might need to re-think their understanding of how early animals developed. Previously, animals with a mouth and anus were classified as either protostomes or deuterostomes, depending on how they grew... but a recently-studied protostome throws a wrench into the naming conventions and how biologists look at the largest branch of animals in the tree of life. [url]