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Author/Editor: N. Sivasothi
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore.


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News about NUS' Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : research * southeastasia * news * bejc * resources * visitors * pub * museums * meetings * media * toddycats * linnaeus300 * people * talks * dinosaurs * education *

Tue 03 Oct 2006

"The Early Evolution of Animals"

Category : bejc

By Professor Chia-Wei Li
Department of Life Sciences
National Tsing Hua University
& President,
National Museum of Natural Science Foundation
Taiwan

Fri 06 Oct 2006: 4pm - 5pm
Lecture Theatre 20
Faculty of Science, NUS

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Abstract - The origins of the highly diversified animals alive today are hidden in the mists of time. An early molecular clock analysis postulated that bilaterians diverged from more primitive animals as early as 1.2 billion years ago. Follow-up studies suggested that bilaterians arose as late as 573 million to 656 million years ago.

The Wengan fossil fauna from Precambrain Doushantuo phosphates (Guishou Province, China), dated at least 580 million years old, contains fossil representatives of the oldest known metazoans. Tons of black Wengan phosphatic rocks were sliced and polished into more than ten thousands of slides, revealing minuscule fossils of sponges, cnidarians, and possible bilaterians with remarkable 3-D soft-tissue preservation.

In addition, a large number of embryos with unknown affinities display a variety of developmental patterns and different morphological types. Recently fossilized embryos resemble the different developmental stages of modern lobe-forming embryos in spiralians were recognized. These embryos will specify one particular blastomere out of four that will be distinct in subsequent regulatory states.

These data imply that lobe formation is an ancient evolutionary device, and that the general strategy of precocious blastomere specification still used in most bilaterian groups was extant at least 40 millions years before the Cambrian.

Posted at 5:10PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | ,