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Evolutionary mystery: Scientists find close connection between human hands and fish fins

Evolutionary mystery: Scientists find close connection between human hands and fish fins

FRANCE: Scientists from the University of Chicago have finally responded an evolutionary mystery that has been boggling biologists for years: An ancient relationship between fins and fingers has been discovered.
Biologists have long speculated on the evolutionary relationship between the modern human hand and the fins of water-dwelling animals, but most studies in the past have failed to establish a clear link. Fortunately, this month, researchers have finally uncovered the genetic relations between the two physiological structures, and we can now safely conclude that the human hand and the fish fin share a common evolutionary history.
According to Live Science, researchers were able to sequence the genetic make-up of a freshwater fish with that of mice, and discovered that the genes involved with the development of mammal’s hands and feet were similar to the genes involved with the development of the fins. The findings suggest that the fins of ancient fish may have been the precursor for modern day mammalian digits.
Neil Shubin, biologist from the University of Chicago, noted that the genetics of the modern human hand reveals clear aquatic origins.
“Fossils show that the wrist and digits clearly have an aquatic origin, but fins and limbs have different purposes. They have evolved in different directions since they diverged.”
Shubin is most famous for being the discoverer of the Tiktaalik rosae, an extinct specie of shallow water fish referred to by some biologists as the common ancestor of all land-dwelling animals. Scientists have long been curious about the Tiktaalik’s physiology, and how it managed to evolve sturdier limbs that can withstand harsher movement in the open land.