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Paleontology and molecular biology - Essay Example

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It has been established that molecular data along with morphological data played important roles in giving vivid details on the…
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Paleontology and molecular biology
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"Paleontology and molecular biology"

Download file to see previous pages It is in this regard that fossils must be cited in providing the present generation a unique opportunity to know evolutionary history and help scientists or interested groups in preserving some combinations of primitive and discovered characteristics of living things that are non-existence in extant taxa. Fossils, therefore, are very critical in documenting the character transformation sequences over a long period of time that cannot be achieved in modern times by the lone use of molecular data.
The integration of fossil and molecular data has been well established in the book of Neil Shubin “Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.” It all started with the discovery in 2004 by Shubin, Ted Daeschler, and Dr. Farish A. Jenkins, Jr. in the Arctic of the fossil of a fish, which they named Tiktaalik. The emergence of Tiktaalik fossil from the rock was a beautiful intermediate between fish and land-living animals (Shubin 22). Tiktaalik has a shoulder, elbow, and wrist composed of the same bones as an upper arm, forearm, and wrist in a human (39).
Tiktaalik was just the beginning of the evolution of creatures living in water to land-living animals. It was just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. With fossils, experiments cannot be done to reach a conclusion. Enter the role of the genes. To understand the difference of each cell in the body, it is imperative to understand the genetic switches that control the activity of genes in each cell and tissue (46). Experiments can be performed wherein the genes can be manipulated to see how bodies actually change in response to different conditions or stimuli (47).
The discovery of the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) in the 50s and 60s by biologists Edgar Zwilling and John Saunders (49) and the Sonic hedgehog in the 90s by Cliff Tabin, Andy MacMahon and Phil Ingham (52) contributed to the role of genes in the evolutionary development. ZPA was responsible for the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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