When you watch butterflies flutter through the sky and lobsters waddle in the sea, you may not readily believe that the two far off species have anything in common. But along with spiders, butterflies and lobsters share quite an interesting collective history-one where an ancient ancestor may have emerged from the sea. Cover the ocean, the land and the skies above the radiation of species into many forms are believed to have originated with a common ancestor as long as 508 million years ago. And in a new study published this week in the journal Paleontology researchers are finally giving a face to ancestor known as Yawunik kootenayi.
While bacteria win the award for largest species abundance, and Archaea take the award for oldest organisms known to man, the most abundant animal on the face of the Earth is still the formidable and diverse phyla arthropoda—which include all species of insects. They come in an array of shapes and sizes, and compose nearly 80 percent of all animal species identified by man to date, and there are still undoubtedly thousands of species we’ve yet to find. But researchers believe that the diverse little creepy crawly bunch may hold more secrets than they let on, perhaps even secrets about our very own evolutionary origins.