One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

August 20, 2014

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A worm-like ancient creature with legs and spikes, known as hallucinations, has finally found its place in the evolutionary chain of species due to the efforts of American scientists. This is stated in an article published in the journal Nature.
Hallucigenia (Hallucigenia) lived at the bottom of the oceans 505 million years ago, at the time of the Cambrian explosion - a sharp increase in the number and diversity of terrestrial biological species. This creature had sizes from 5 to 35 mm and most resembled a worm, but it had 7-8 pairs of legs and a number of spines on its back.

Determining that this animal has a tail, and that its head, caused scientists some difficulties. And at first, biologists could not even understand where exactly the animal's legs, and where the thorns.

Because of its unusual, even surrealistic appearance, hallucinuia was often called the “evolutionary misfit”, since scientists could not find a suitable evolutionary niche for it — it was not possible to prove the relationship with modern species.

In a new study conducted by American scientists from the University of Cambridge under the leadership of Martin Smith (Martin Smith), scientists were able to find a connection between Hallucigenia and modern animals, namely, onihophores, or velvet worms living in tropical regions of the planet.

Kinship "issued" the claws of the animal, which were located at the end of each of its legs, and which scientists examined under a microscope, examining the fossil remains of the creature. Having studied the structure of several layers of cuticles, collected, as the study showed, into each other in the manner of nesting dolls, scientists have shown that modern velvet worms have the same layer of cuticles - but for millions of years these limbs, apparently, disappeared as unnecessary and turned into holes for chewing food, and claws were adapted to the role of teeth.

Thus, the evolutionary loneliness of hallucinations ended, and for the first time since the discovery of this species in the 1970s, it gained its place in the evolutionary chain of species.

Scientists note that this discovery may affect the elimination of some other evolutionary gaps of the Cambrian explosion.

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  • One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution

    One of the strangest creatures on Earth has found a place on the tree of evolution