1932

Abstract

The emergence of animals from their unicellular ancestors is a major evolutionary event. Thanks to the study of diverse close unicellular relatives of animals, we now have a better grasp of what the unicellular ancestor of animals was like. However, it is unclear how that unicellular ancestor of animals became the first animals. To explain this transition, two popular theories, the choanoblastaea and the synzoospore, have been proposed. We will revise and expose the flaws in these two theories while showing that, due to the limits of our current knowledge, the origin of animals is a biological black swan event. As such, the origin of animals defies retrospective explanations. Therefore, we should be extra careful not to fall for confirmation biases based on few data and, instead, embrace this uncertainty and be open to alternative scenarios. With the aim to broaden the potential explanations on how animals emerged, we here propose two novel and alternative scenarios. In any case, to find the answer to how animals evolved, additional data will be required, as will the hunt for microscopic creatures that are closely related to animals but have not yet been sampled and studied.

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2023-09-15
2024-04-22
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