Your oldest living relative is a jelly, not a sponge. An active debate among zoologists as to which ancient creature is the first true animal was just settled after an analysis of the comb jelly genome. Turns out we are descended from these ctenophores — a species that emerged 700 million years ago — and not sea sponges.


Image: Stefan Siebert/Brown University.

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"we are descended" from an animal which was not a ctenophore. We and ctenophores have a common ancestor. This common ancestor may have been similar to ctenophores, but it was unlikely to be identifiable as one.