Weird Animals, And Why They Matter

By Carl Zimmer | April 28, 2008 11:56 am

Animal%20tree%20300.jpgToday in the Boston Globe, I write about how scientists are revising their understanding of the evolution of animals, thanks to more DNA and more weird animals. My favorite quote comes from biologist Mark Pallen, who says that the human genome would have been worthless without understanding how humans are related to other animals.

Unfortunately, this research has been subject to some poor reporting, and to some distortions from creationists. Ryan Gregory and Troy Britain set them straight, respectively.

MORE ABOUT: Evolution

Comments (5)

  1. Siamang

    That’s a beautiful graphic in the Globe.

    Here’s what ads Google puts right below it:

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    These people spam everything relating to evolution. What’s up?

  2. Their discovery does not mean that our ancestors looked like comb jellies, Dunn stresses. “That’s like saying that your cousin is your grandpa,” he said. Much of the comb jelly’s anatomy probably evolved after its ancestors split off from the ancestors of other living animals.


  3. Mus

    Needless to say, another great article. I did, however, find a small error/misleading statement.

    >>The next oldest lineages produced a group of species that included jellyfish and comb jellies, known as ctenophores.

    Jellyfish and comb jellies belong to two different phyla, with the jellifish belonging to Cnidaria and the comb jellies belonging to ctenophora.

  4. Celebrate the second most basal metazoans! Its Coral Week at Deep Sea News.

    There’s a little bit of us in them. Or is it the other way around?

  5. David Marjanović

    IMHO the tree is full of long-branch attraction. The position of the ctenophores is probably spurious.

    That said, the ctenophores are massively underresearched anyway!


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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