By THE CANADIAN PRESS - CBCNEWS
Added: Mon, 05 Mar 2012 18:09:36 UTC
Thanks to rod-the-farmer for the link.
A tiny worm-like creature that swam the seas half a billion years ago is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think about who you share your genes with.
But according to a newly released analysis of a fossil unearthed in the Canadian Rockies a century ago, the finger-sized creature — known as Pikaia gracilens — is the oldest known member of the chordates — a group containing all animals with a backbone, including humans.
"It's a very, very distant cousin," Jean-Bernard Caron, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto and the study's co-author, said in an interview. "We share the same genes...we share some of the basic features."
However, the chance that humans might have evolved from the five-centemetre-long creature is a "long shot," cautioned Caron.
The research, published Monday in the British scientific journal Biological Reviews, determined Pikaia has a notochord, a flexible rod found in the embryos of all chordates that makes up part of the backbone in vertebrates
This post was made using the Auto Blogging Software from WebMagnates.org This line will not appear when posts are made after activating the software to full version.