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Sodium Channels Evolved Before Animals’ Nervous Systems, Research Shows

Sodium Channels Evolved Before Animals’ Nervous Systems, Research Shows

An essential component of animal nervous systems — sodium channels — evolved prior to the evolution of those systems, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have discovered. “The first nervous systems appeared in jellyfish-like animals six hundred million years ago or so,” says Harold Zakon, professor of neurobiology, “and it was thought that…   » Continue Reading

New Ant Species Discovered in the Amazon Likely Represents Oldest Living Lineage of Ants

New Ant Species Discovered in the Amazon Likely Represents Oldest Living Lineage of Ants

A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve.

Scientists map the evolutionary relationships for all life on the planet

Scientists map the evolutionary relationships for all life on the planet

In the beginning Ed Theriot’s contributions to the Assembling the Tree of Life (AToL) project—“the story of life on Earth, in a nutshell”—often begin pretty humbly. “Sometimes we go down to Waller Creek, right on campus, with a turkey baster and a toothbrush, and we suck up algae from the water and scrub it off…   » Continue Reading