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Strange Crustacean Undergoes Reverse Evolution

Y-larvae or facetotectans were first discovered in 1899, but no one actually knew the adult form of the crustaceans ... until now. Scientists dosed the y-larvae with a hormone to force them into a growth spurt and discovered something strange: the bizarre crustaceans seem to undergo evolution, but in reverse!

The researchers next exposed y-larvae to a crustacean hormone that encouraged them to mature. The creatures metamorphosized into a juvenile form, dubbed "ypsigons," unexpectedly shedding their exoskeletons to become wriggling, eyeless, limbless creatures that resemble parasitic crustaceans.

At first the researchers thought their eyes were tricking them, but eventually "the juvenile literally crawled out of the old larval carapace," Glenner recalled. "It was only after several repeated experiments we actually believed what we saw. That feeling was a mind-blowing experience."

The fact that ypsigons are vastly different and far simpler than y-larvae might help explain why the adult versions of these creatures have escaped detection for so long. These are so simple compared with y-larvae that they even lack digestive tracts and nervous systems.

Link | The video of the metamorphosis


Careful. Evolution occurs over generations, not a single lifetime.

Still, fascinating creatures. I wonder how the complexity of adult mayflies compares to their larva... I know the adults only live long enough to mate, and do not even have time or energy to eat.
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*smacks forehead*

Nothing to do with evolution.

"Reverse evolution" is as much a misnomer as "reverse sexism" or "reverse racism".
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Beat me to it, TomWWW. Becoming a more simple organism is not evolving "in reverse."

Besides, the process in question here is not evolution in any case. It's a metamorphic change within one generation. It would be like referring to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly as evolution. It's just another stage of its life-cycle.
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Evolution has no direction or an end goal, it simply develops an organism best suited for a particular environmental niche. Clams for instance have no central nervous system even you their ancestors did because it was too cost inefficient for their lifestyle.

Having said that, it is an interesting metamorphic effect .
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Yup, that's much more "reverse maturation" than anything re:evolution. I'd love to see how they came to evolve such an unusual lifecycle, though.
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Gotta love self proclaimed blog experts...

"Reverse evolution" is a reference to recapitulation theory, thought to have been outdated but a form of it is now making a comeback as we discover more fossils/evidence.

The evolution of certain organisms and their structures can sometimes be understood by observing the organisms devlopment. i.e. the growth of feathers on birds has shed light on how feathers evolved in dinosaurs.

This "reverse evolution" is a creature that for whatever reason found it advantageous to take on a simpler body structure in its adult life, the "blueprint" for which is found in a body form held by its ancestors. Technically there is no "reverse evolution", but its a suitable semantic tool to describe a real phenomenon.
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@Silly people: “Reverse evolution” is not an acceptable phrase for describing this, pouring scorn on people who actually DO seem to know what they're on about doesn't add any weight to your assertion to the contrary. As already mentioned, evolution does NOT occur in individuals, it occurs between generations. Reverse metamorphosis might be an acceptable phrase. "Reverse evolution" as an analogous phrase is used to describe when in an abnormally short space of time a species abruptly resembles an older form (presumably by activating dormant genes). This is still evolution because it occurs across generations, and is reverse to the degree that the resemblance is to an older form.

"Technically there is no “reverse evolution”, but its a suitable semantic tool to describe a real phenomenon." What you say is correct, but its not a suitable semantic tool to describe THIS phenomenon.
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