The nerves connecting our eyes to our brains are sophisticated. Researchers now show that it evolved much earlier which was shown by an unexpected source: the Gar Fish. This work was published in the journal Science.
Ingo Braasch, Michigan State University has helped the international research team show that the connection scheme was already present in ancient Gar Fish at least 450 million years ago. This shows that it is about 100 million years older. Braasch, as an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology in the College of Natural Science, said that it is the first time for him that one of the publications changes the textbook that I am teaching.
Zebrafish are a popular model animal. Their eye-brain wiring is very distinct from a human’s. That helps the scientists to understand the thought the human connection first evolved in four-limbed terrestrial creatures or tetrapods.He also added that the Modern fish don’t have this type of eye-brain connection. That’s one of the reasons that people thought it was a new thing in tetrapods.
Braasch is one of the world’s leading experts in a different type of fish known as gar. Gar Fish have evolved more slowly than zebrafish. They are more similar than the last common ancestor shared by fish and humans. These similarities could make gar a powerful animal model for health studies, which is why Braasch and his team are working to better understand gar biology and genetics.