Friday, March 7, 2008

Tree of Life Redo

This is a summary of a research article from Nature. Science teachers and interested hobbyists will be intrigued to learn how the data base was created and new implications about various changes in animal relationships since it takes new research into account.
clipped from
A list of biologists long enough to choke a horse has completed a new tree of life for animals, resolving the relationships among all the major groups and suggesting some weird things about the origins of animals with well-developed tissues.
This was the surprise tissue finding — comb jellyfish (jellies with well-developed tissues) diverged from other animals even before the lowly sponge, which has no tissue to speak of.
Either comb jellies evolved their complexity independently from other animals or sponges became greatly simplified through the course of evolution
If corroborated, “this would significantly change the way we think about the earliest multicellular animals,” Dunn said. The results are detailed in the March 6 issue of the journal Nature.
These gigantic trees of life (this one is said to be the most comprehensive animal tree of life to date) require massive computer power to run algorithms and resolve huge matrices of data
more than 120 processors
in labs around the globe
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