Exotic sea creatures called comb jellies may reshape how scientists view early evolution — as their genes suggest nature created more than one way to make a nervous system.
These beautiful but little-known translucent animals often are called “aliens of the sea.” Somehow, they rapidly regenerate lost body parts. Some even can regrow a very rudimentary brain.
Now University of Florida researchers report that these mysterious creatures evolved a unique nervous system in a completely different way than the rest of the animal kingdom.
In other words, the nervous system evolved more than once.
The finding published Wednesday by the journal Nature challenges long-standing theories about animal development. It also suggests new ways to investigate brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, as researchers explore how to make neurons.