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Palaeontology

Decay distorts ancestry

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Experiments with simple chordate animals show how decay may make the resulting fossils seem less evolved. The consequence is to distort evidence of the evolution of the earliest vertebrates and their precursors.

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Figure 1: 'Stem-ward slippage.'
Figure 2: Early Cambrian yunnanozoan.

A, D. SIVETER/REF. 2; B, J. CHEN

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Briggs, D. Decay distorts ancestry. Nature 463, 741–742 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/463741a

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