Scientists Claim Man's Ancestors Had Tentacles

Russian scientists have revealed that the ancestors humans share with all mammals and birds had tentacles about 600 million years ago.

The common ancestors of all animals with bilateral (two-sided) symmetry of the body, to which humans belong, may have had tentacles around 600 million years ago, according to a new study published by Russian scientists.

The study was led by Yelena Temereva of Moscow State University, who explored Lingula, one of the oldest brachiopods to have survived to the present day.

The Lingula species, which dates back to approximately 600 million years ago, belongs to bilaterally symmetric animals with the lophophore, a special organ that carries tentacles. Previous multiple molecular phylogenetic data showed that "there is no united group of Lophophore animals", according to Temereva.

However, she managed to prove the opposite by conducting the relevant research with the help of immunocytochemistry techniques, laser confocal microscopy, 3D-reconstruction and transmission electron microscopy.

The research proved that the group of the Lophophore animals did exist and that it had a common ancestor, which, in turn, had both the lophophore and the tentacles.

"In view of the fact that there are tentacles in two main trunks of bilaterally symmetrical animals, it is logical to assume that they were in the common ancestor. There were tentacles and the common ancestor of chordates, which include people," Temereva explained.

She voiced hope that the results of the study will further add to the classification of species.

The study was published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE; Temerin's co-author was Evgeny Tsitrin of the Institute of Developmental Biology with the Russian Academy of Sciences.