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. Study: Evolution creates complex animals

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by Staff Writers
Bath, England (UPI) Mar 20, 2008
A British-led study of 550 million years of the fossil record has found evidence suggesting evolution drives animals to become increasingly more complex.

University of Bath researchers investigated the different evolutionary branches of the crustacean family tree seeking examples in which animals evolved that were simpler than their ancestors.

Instead they found organisms with increasingly more complex structures and features, suggesting there is some mechanism driving change in this direction.

"If you start with the simplest possible animal body, then there's only one direction to evolve in -- you have to become more complex," said Matthew Wills of the University of Bath. "Sooner or later, however, you reach a level of complexity where it's possible to go backwards and become simpler again.

"What's astonishing," he said, "is that hardly any crustaceans have taken this backwards route. Instead, almost all branches have evolved in the same direction, becoming more complex in parallel. This is the nearest thing to a pervasive evolutionary rule that's been found."

The study that included Sarah Adamowicz of Canada's University of Waterloo and Andy Purvis from Imperial College London appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Nigeria is suspended from CITES wildlife trade pact
Abuja (AFP) March 20, 2008
Nigeria has been suspended from the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species for alleged breaches of its provisions, an environment ministry official said Thursday.

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