New evidence for parallel evolution: vertebrates evolved the same way

Paleontologists from Friedrich Alexander University and the University of Calgary in Canada have presented new evidence of parallel evolution: Conodonts, early vertebrates of the Permian period, adapted to new habitats in almost the same way, despite living in different regions.

The main confirmation of the theory of evolution is that it is fairly easy to predict how animals and plants will evolve in order to adapt to changes in their habitat.

It has already been proven that organisms with a common ancestor evolve in the same way, even if they are completely isolated from each other. About 6 thousand years ago, fish colonized crater lakes: they developed identical morphology in new habitats. One group was fishing for small shrimp, so they had a stocky body with a flat mouth. Another group hunted for fish in the depths, so they evolved into a more streamlined shape. These subspecies are found in every crater lake, although there is no connection between their habitats.

Researcher Emily Yarokhovskaya studies evolution in various ecosystems using the example of conodonts, organisms that lived in the sea about 500-200 million years ago and were among the first vertebrates. Their tapered teeth can still be found as fossils in sedimentary rocks around the world. According to scientists, there were about 3 thousand different types of conodonts.

Scientists have suspected for several years that there is a subspecies known as Conodont Sweetognathus that evolved in parallel, says Jarohovska.

A careful analysis of the morphology of the dental elements confirmed that the subspecies Conodont Sweetognathus has repeatedly adapted to different foods due to frequent migration in almost the same way, despite the fact that the habitats of the groups of this species were isolated from each other.

Comparing samples of a large number of fossils allowed researchers to confirm that the teeth found in Bolivia and Russia belong to organisms with a common ancestor.

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