Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fossil has evidence of limb regeneration in 300 million year old amphibian

(Phys.org) —A trio of researchers with Germany's Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions und Biodiversitätsforschung, has found evidence of limb regeneration in a 300 million year old amphibian fossil, which suggests that the ability to regenerate entire limbs by such creatures is not restricted to modern salamanders. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Nadia Fröbisch, Constanze Bickelmann and Florian Witzmann describe the fossil they've been studying and why they believe it was able to regenerate its limbs.

Scientists believe that salamanders are the only modern four-legged animals that can regenerate entire limbs throughout their lives. What's not clear, however, despite a great deal of research, is if the ability is a recent evolutionary trait or if it came about long ago and has been passed along for many years. The findings by the researchers with this latest effort suggest the latter—the fossil appears to be an ancient relative of the salamander.

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