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Grand evolution theory for complex animals in ruins; fossil is, in fact, a jellyfish

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microscopic pseudooides is jellyfish, not complex anima/U Bristol

From ScienceDaily:

Pseudooides fossils have a segmented middle like the embryos of segmented animals, such as insects, inspiring grand theories on how complex segmented animals may have evolved.

A team of paleontologists from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and Peking University have now peered inside the Pseudooides embryos using X-rays and found features that link them to the adult stages of another fossil group.

It turns out that these adult stages were right under the scientists’ noses all along: they have been found long ago in the same rocks as Pseudooides.

Surprisingly, these long-lost family members are not complex segmented animals at all, but ancestors of modern jellyfish. Paper. (public access) – Baichuan Duan, Xi-Ping Dong, Luis Porras, Kelly Vargas, John A. Cunningham, Philip C. J. Donoghue. The early Cambrian fossil embryo Pseudooides is a direct-developing cnidarian, not an early ecdysozoan. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2017; 284 (1869): 20172188 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2188 More.

It’s interesting that the researchers here see little need to protect a Darwinian tree of life. Who knows, we may go on to discover many other useful pieces of information.

See also: Researchers: Sponges definitely oldest animals, not “anatomically complex” comb jellies

4 Replies to “Grand evolution theory for complex animals in ruins; fossil is, in fact, a jellyfish

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    “Surprisingly, these long-lost family members are not complex segmented animals at all, but ancestors of modern jellyfish.”

    Surprisingly? again?

    They seem to get surprised quite often lately, don’t they?

    They ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
    The most fascinating discoveries are still ahead.

  2. 2
    Querius says:

    What do you expect from an obsolete Victorian theory preserved from the the rise of the British Empire at a time when the germ theory of disease was beginning to overthrow the miasma theory, Dr. Semmelweis was struggling to introduce hygiene to the medical professionals at a hospital in Vienna (and lost), and the rise of Kipling’s “white man’s burden,” justified by the manifest evolutionary destiny of the “favoured races” as Darwin termed it.

    Not looking so good anymore, is it?

    -Q

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    The Science Daily article is a RARE example of good lively science writing. The author treats the fossils as living creatures with goals and needs, not as chemical formulas.

    Most popular science mags were written this way before the triumph of dry orthodoxy in the ’70s.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Good point, polistra!

    I’d add that people with a strong sense of curiosity and desire to discover don’t have an innate drive to preserve and fortify orthodoxy, nor do they see any reason to deprecate the wonder and joy of nature.

    -Q

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