- The Loom
In Search of the First Animals
All animals–from corgis to Greenland sharks, from dog ticks to toucans to you–descend from a common ancestor. The fossil record of animals, which runs back over 600 million years, can help us travel back some of the way through animal evolution towards the origin of the kingdom. But those early rocks contain precious few remains of animals, and so fossils alone can’t tell us what our common animal ancestor looked like.
Scientists can add to their supply of clues by studying living animals. And it now looks as if some of the most important clues to how animals got their start come from a beautiful creature called the comb jelly. This video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a good introduction