Looking back at our ancestors, there are many links we could make, and it has long been debated about what our common ancestor would be. Many scientists have spent years theorizing, hypothesizing, and speculating about where our ancestors would have originated. And there has long been a debate about what came first, the sponge, or the comb jellyfish.
Well, the good news is that there is now an answer that scientists think they can give us, and that is that sponges could well be our oldest ancestors. This has finally cracked the question that has plagued scientists for years and provides some interesting discoveries. So, let’s soak up the knowledge of this finding, and learn more about why sponges could well be our deepest ancestors.
The first main difference to think about is that fact that the sponge is much more basic and simplistic than the comb jelly. Combs are complex creatures with quite a complex genetic makeup. However, as author Davide Pisani tells us, sponges live at the bottom of the ocean and don’t really do much. In contrast, the comb jelly is an extremely complex and complicated creature. But, it stands to reason that the sponge would come first due to the way evolution works.
Why it makes sense
The fact that comb jellies are so complex almost pretty much rules them out of the running already. For them to be our ancestors is highly unlikely, because it would mean that the ancestors of all living creatures would have a complex makeup. What’s more plausible is that these features evolved different times in different creatures, and were lost in sponges. It’s much more straightforward to assume we all evolved from a filter-feeding organism.
The reason this has been a debate to spark interest for so long has been the complete disparity between the two creatures. Comb jellies are majestic, complex, colorful, wondrous creatures, whereas the sponge is a dull and boring creature, making it an underdog of sorts. It shows that we have all had humble beginnings and that each of us came from the same ‘underdog’ place. We all love to root for the underdog now and again, and that’s why it’s so fun to find out that sponges are likely to be our ancestors as opposed to comb jellies.
In order to corroborate the finding further, Pisani and his global team carried out research and ran statistics to analyze the models of early animal evolution. This confirmed the fact that sponges were definitely the stronger option of the two, and supported what we originally thought to be the case. This has gone a pretty significant way toward addressing and dealing with this debate.
Sponges are such basic and humble organisms, so it seems unlikely that they would be the direct ancestors of humans. But, it turns out that this is actually pretty much the case, and adds an interesting link to our evolution as animals. It also tells us a lot that we didn’t already know about our ancestors. Soak up that knowledge!