A comprehensive new genetic study has found strong leads about the origin of insects, suggesting that they developed their wings far before than any other animal, while originated about the same time period as land plants.
A global researchers’ team made the major revelation on Thursday about their newly created and most comprehensive family tree of the insects ever developed.
The researchers used the genetic data to track the origin of insects to over 400 million years ago. During the process, the research group was able to unearth the association between all the major insect groups
“Two-thirds of all known animal species are insects. They are the important players in terrestrial ecosystems, together with plants,” lead study author Bernhard Misof of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Gernmany, said.
For the study, the scientists collected data from 144 minutely selected insect species. The scientists found that the insects emerged about 480 million years ago. They also underscored that the origin of insects happened about the same time when the land plants first emerged.
The study’s findings also indicated that bugs and plants were the first species that became the part of the earliest ecosystems on land.
“Phylogeny forms the foundation for telling us the who, what, when, and why of life. Many previously intractable questions are now resolved, while many of the revolutions brought about by previous analyses of smaller molecular datasets have contained errors that are now being corrected,” study author Dr. Karl Kjer, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, said in a statement.
More than 100 international experts carried rigorous research work to make the stunning reconstruction of the insect family tree. The experts and the scientists behind the study belonged to a diverse fields including insect taxonomy, molecular biology, evolution, embryology, paleontology and scientific computing.