This week has been really exciting in the Anom Lab at Lausanne: we have a new Perspectives article out in Proceedings on the National Academy of Sciences [feel free to contact me for a copy!].
The major findings of the paper are:
- Euarthropods (which includes insects, arachnids, crustaceans, trilobites, etc.) are the most abundant and diverse animal group ever, and have significantly affected all of Earth’s ecosystems since their origins.
- The fossil record supports a euarthropod origin 550-537 million years ago, close to the most recent molecular estimates.
- Combining all strands of fossil record evidence gives an excellent picture of early animal origins and evolution, which is difficult to attain from only one source of fossil data.
- This refutes both an ‘instantaneous’ Cambrian Explosion and a ‘long-fuse’ where they originated 650-600 million years ago and diversified later.
If you want to know more, I wrote a short piece for the Oxford Museum of Natural History (here) about its importance, and the press release has also been featured by a number of news outlets, listed below:
- The Mail Online
- Laboratory Equipment
- Newsweek feature on MSN
- Eurasia Review
- Xinhua Net
- Full press release from the Oxford Museum of Natural History
And in other languages:
Lead-author Allison Daley has also been on the Swiss radio discussing the paper and resultant implications (in French!).