6.5 C
New York
Sunday, September 25, 2022

“It Might Seem Strange”: Changes In Skulls Actually Restricted Evolution Of Tetrapods

Must Read

New Study Explains Why Women Self-selecting Out Of STEM – It’s Not About Being “White Or Male” Anymore

Even though women and people of color have made small gains in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)...

Live Liver Donor Transplants Can Save More Lives In The US

A new study in the Journal of Hepatology says that liver transplants from living donors can cut...

Soldiers Who Refuse To Go To War May Face A Jail Term Up To 10 Years – Russia’s New Criminal Code

According to the official legal information portal, President Vladimir Putin has approved changes to the law to...
Revyuh Logo 120 x 120
Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

A new study published today found that tetrapods’ evolution was restricted for millions of years as their skulls had fewer bones than both extinct and current fish.

Researchers from the University of Bristol, Barcelona’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and University College London looked at fossil skulls of animals that lived in both water and on land.

They found that tetrapods had more interconnections between their skull bones than fish.

And these modifications to the skull’s architecture actually hindered the evolution of tetrapod skulls rather than encouraging the variety of life on land.

Tetrapods, the ancestors of everything from frogs to humans, emerged from fish as the first land animals with limbs and fingers.

In order to learn more about how skulls changed as tetrapods evolved, the study, which was published in Science Advances, quantified the arrangement of skull bones in over 100 extant and extinct creatures.

“Tetrapod skulls generally have fewer skull bones than their fish ancestors,” says Lead author James Rawson, “but simply counting the number of bones misses some important data. 

So they “used a technique called network analysis, where the arrangement of skull bones – which bones connect to which – is recorded in addition to bone number.”

Expert in this method and author Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava said: “Traditionally, anatomy research has been mostly descriptive or qualitative,” adds author Dr. Borja Esteve-Altava 

Anatomical relationships between bones, according to the author, can be quantified using network analysis, a method that is frequently ignored in research on morphological evolution.

The authors discovered that because tetrapods have fewer skull bones than fish, their skulls are more tightly organized.

“It might seem strange, add Mr. Rawson, but having fewer bones forces each bone to link with more of its neighbors, creating a more intricate arrangement. Of all the creatures they examined, modern frogs and salamanders had the most complicated skulls. The skulls of the first tetrapods also started to become more like a single unit, while the skulls of their fish ancestors were made of several separate parts.

By looking at the different ways skull bones have been arranged over time, the authors also found that the beginning of tetrapods coincides with a drop in the number of different ways skull bones can be arranged. 

“We were surprised to find these changes to the skull,” explains senior author Emily Rayfield, “seemed to limit tetrapod evolution, rather than promoting radiation to new habitats on land.” 

They “think that the evolution of a neck, extinction events or a bottleneck in skull development may be responsible.” 

“We also see a similar drop in structural variability for the limb bones in early tetrapods,” adds Mr. Rawson, “but the drop in the limbs happens 10 million years earlier. 

“It seems that different factors were affecting skull and limb evolution in early tetrapods, and we have so much more to learn about this crucial time in our own evolutionary history.”

Image Credit: Getty

You were reading: “It Might Seem Strange”: Changes In Skulls Actually Restricted Evolution Of Tetrapods

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -