According to a study recently published in Nature Communications, a 500 million-year-old marine ancestor may have had a sixth sense: electroreception. Spread over 25 years, the study has found that this ancestor was common to 30,000 species of land animals — including humans — as well as around the same number of ray-finned fishes and possessed an advanced electroreceptive system. Today, this type of system can be found in paddlefish, sturgeons, sharks, platypus, and other aquatic vertebrates that have electroreceptors in their bodies. Electroreceptive systems help aquatic vertebrates detect weak electrical fields in the water in order to communicate and locate whatever unlucky prey happens to be in the area. To jolt your memory, think of the iconic image of an electric eel giving a shock. The ability to emit an electric response may have been our ancestor’s trump card.

 

Source: Science Daily

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