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        Animal Eve: Were Sponges the First Animal?

        In this lesson students make a guess as to what was the first animal. Through questioning, evidence gathering, discussion, and observing video from shapeoflife.org, students evaluate evidence that supports which animal was the first to appear on Earth.

        The Shape of Life | Sponges: Origins

        Sponges often don’t even look alive, but an ancient sponge was actually the first animal. The apparent simplicity of sponges is actually quite perplexing. Find out about the many responsibilities of sponge cells, and how they retain the freedom to continuously reinvent themselves.

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        Mitchell Sogin, Evolutionary Biologist: Proof of the First Animal

        As an evolutionary biologist, Sogin searched the genetic codes of many organisms to discover which gave rise to all the others. He investigated the genes of the sponge starting with gene sequencing to find the genetic blueprint of the sponge so he could compare it to those of other organisms. Sogin built a family tree based on comparing DNA sequences of various genes and confirmed what had been theorized: sponges are the first animal.

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