News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

New insights on limb evolution from Auckland

New insights on limb evolution from Auckland

Media Release - University of Auckland - 5 December 2016

An Auckland medical scientist has contributed to a better understanding of the role of muscles in limb evolution from fish to land animals, in research published recently.

The study involved three scientists from Howard University College of Medicine and academic Peter Johnston from the University of Auckland.

“A continuous pattern of evolution from fins to limbs has been difficult to demonstrate,” says anatomy expert Peter Johnston.

“Our work brings together information from the sometimes separate spheres of traditional comparative anatomy, palaeontology, and modern developmental genetics.

“It sets the scene for a better understanding of the role of the soft tissues in limb evolution which are seldom preserved in fossils,” he says.

Lobe-fin or fleshy fin fishes such as coelacanths and lungfish are the fish closest to limbed land animals – the tetrapods (four-footed animals).

“Coelacanths were common residents of the oceans 300 million years ago and were thought to be extinct until 1938, but small numbers of the genus Latimeria were found near southern Africa and recently in Indonesia,” says Peter.

“In this study we analysed muscles in coelacanth and lungfish fins and have demonstrated structures that evolve into the tetrapod limb pattern,” he says. “Previous opinion was that many features of tetrapod limbs arose de novo [spontaneously new].”

Although lungfish are closer to tetrapods, the fin anatomy of coelacanths is a better model for tetrapod limb evolution, and this had not been appreciated previously.

“Coelacanth material is difficult to access,” says Peter who made several trips to the southern German university city of Tübingen to study material held there.

For the published paper, go to this link.
www.nature.com/articles/srep37592

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>


Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland