Evolution

Evolution of the Metazoa

The evolution of multi-cellular animals (Metazoa) is one of the classical problems of evolutionary biology. According to current research, the sponges and the placozoon Trichoplax adhaerens are the most basal metazoan lines, and their evolution from choanoflagellates is discussed. Typically, these reconstructions are purely character-based (morphological and molecular characteristics), which means that biomechanical aspects are neglected. For example, the hypothetical early Metazoa are often envisaged as hollow spheres („Blastaea“ sensu Haeckel), and thus could be described as elementary hydraulic system. However, it remains unexplained how this hydraulic system could gradually change into an invaginated „Gastraea“ without a system of supportive internal grids. Thus, our aim is to develop a detailed „step by step-model“ for the evolution of early metazoan constructions, which is founded on biomechnical considerations an thus balances structural and functional aspects.

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