Comb jelly

We may finally have figured out which group of animals evolved first

By Michael Marshall

Comb jellies (Ctenophora) were possibly the first group of animals to develop

Andrey Nekrasov / Alamy

Sponge or jelly? While it sounds like a choice between desserts, it turns out that either sponges or comb jellies are key to understanding animal origins, what the first animals were like, and when the first brain developed.

That’s because one of them was the first group of animals to separate from other animals and evolve separately – but it has long been unclear which.

A new analysis points the finger at jellies. The study was praised by scientists on both sides …