The recent capture of a live giant shipworm highlights devolution. One form of devolution is allowing complex body systems to become vestigial, relying on microorganisms instead.
The giant shipworm is unique not just for its size, but also for feeding on nutrients in mud and marine sediment instead, using a type of bacteria.
It therefore has a much smaller digestive system compared to other shipworms.
And while the discovery of the animal itself is exciting, the team’s research has revealed there is an entire hidden ecosystem at play.
The giant shipworm has bacteria that live inside its shell, converting chemicals from the nearby rotting wood into energy and nutrients, similar to what plants do with sunlight.More.
Devolution poses an interesting problem: Unless we know the actual history, we cannot assume in principle that simpler life forms precede more complex ones. It can be the other way around. In short, more problems for the “tree of life.”
See also: GMO bacteria devolution is an evolutionary advantage?
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Devolution: Getting back to the simple life
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