Navigation Links
Four-eyed daddy longlegs fossil fills in evolutionary tree
Date:4/10/2014

Living harvestmena group of arachnids more commonly known as daddy longlegshave a single pair of eyes that help them navigate habitats in every continent except Antarctica. But a newly described 305-million-year-old fossil found in eastern France shows that wasn't always the case. New research recently published in the journal Current Biology and led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Manchester indicates that primitive harvestmen had two pairs of eyes, adding significant details to the evolutionary story of this diverse and highly successful group.

"Terrestrial arthropods like harvestmen have a sparse fossil record because their exoskeletons don't preserve well," said Prashant Sharma, a postdoctoral researcher in the Museum's Division of Invertebrate Zoology and one of the lead authors on the new study. "As a result, some fundamental questions in the evolutionary history of these organisms remain unresolved. This exceptional fossil has given us a rare and detailed look at the anatomy of harvestmen that lived hundreds of millions of years ago."

Despite having eight long legs and being classified as arachnids, harvestmen are not spiders, even though they resemble them. Instead, they are more closely related to scorpions among the arachnids, a group that also includes mites and ticks. Arachnids can have two kinds of eyes: lateral, those on the side of the body; and median, those near the middle of the body. The former are lacking in harvestmen species living today.

But Hastocularis argus, the new species described by the researchers from the fossil, has both median and lateral eyes. The unique fossil's anatomy was studied in meticulous detail using high-resolution x-ray imaging at the Natural History Museum, London.

"Fossils preserved in three dimensions are quite rare," said Russell Garwood, a research fellow at the University of Manchester and a lead author on the study. "This is especially true of harvestmen. Our x-ray techniques have allowed us to reveal this fossil in more detail than we would have dreamed possible two decades ago."

The researchers corroborated their results by looking at the expression of a particular "eye-stalk-growing" gene in a living species of harvestmen. They found that developing embryos briefly express this gene in the lateral area, where the second eye pair is located in the fossil. But by the time they hatch, harvestmen only form the median eyes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kendra Snyder
ksnyder@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. MU researchers find rare fossilized embryos more than 500 million years old
2. Using more wood for construction can slash global reliance on fossil fuels
3. Technofossils -- an unprecedented legacy left behind by humans
4. Paleontologists assemble giant turtle bone from fossil discoveries made centuries apart
5. Unique chromosomes preserved in Swedish fossil
6. New from Geology: Fossils, earthquakes, gold, and sea-bed landslides
7. Fossilized human feces from 14th century contain antibiotic resistance genes
8. Dinosaur fossils from China help Penn researchers describe new Titan
9. Big-headed fossil flies track major ecological revolution
10. Iconic Australasian trees found as fossils in South America
11. Fossil pigments reveal the colors of ancient sea monsters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Four-eyed daddy longlegs fossil fills in evolutionary tree
(Date:3/29/2016)... 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: ... SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort ... variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting ... from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... with passcodes for superior security   ... leading provider of secure digital communications services, today announced ... technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the ... recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Rolf K. Hoffmann, ... faculty of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School effective ... at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on the school’s international efforts, leading classes ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... BOSTON , June 27, 2016   Ginkgo ... biology to industrial engineering, was today awarded as ... a selection of the world,s most innovative companies. ... at scale for the real world in the ... organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled ... cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous ... (CTCs). The new test has already been incorporated ... multiple cancer types. Over 230 clinical ... response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers ... the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are ... to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung ...
Breaking Biology Technology: