Washington, April 11 : A researcher says that the evolutionary history of the comb jelly has provided fresh insights into Earth's first animal.
Casey Dunn says that the study appears to suggest that the first animal was significantly more complex than previously believed.
According to the researcher, the comb jelly could only have achieved its apparent seniority over the simpler sponge via one of two new evolutionary scenarios.
First, the comb jelly evolved its complexity independently of other animals, after it branched off onto its own evolutionary path.
Secondly, the sponge evolved its simple form from more complex creatures.
This suggests that evolution is not necessarily just a march towards increased complexity, says Dunn, adding that this scenario would provide a particularly dramatic example of that principle.