Scientists have determined if our ancestors lived with dinosaurs

Scientists from the United Kingdom and the United States have developed a new method for estimating the evolution charts of species based on genomic data. The authors proved that modern groups of mammals arose after the extinction of dinosaurs at the turn of the Cretaceous and Paleogene periods. The research results are published in the journal Nature.

Large genomic datasets are key to understanding the evolution of species, but analyzing them is time-consuming and computationally intensive. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London, the University of Bristol and the University of California, Los Angeles have developed a computational approach to quickly produce accurately dated phylogenomic evolutionary patterns known as temporal trees.

Using the new method, the authors compiled the most detailed timeline of mammalian evolution at the species level to date and answered the long-standing question of whether modern groups of placental mammals arose before or after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, when all non-avian dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth.

The data obtained confirm that the ancestors of modern placental mammals, including such groups as primates, rodents, cetaceans, carnivores and bats, appeared after the mass extinction that occurred 66 million years ago and have never crossed in biological history with dinosaurs.

“By combining complete genomes and information about fossils in the analysis, we were able to obtain an accurate timeline of evolution. Did modern groups of mammals coexist with dinosaurs? Now we have a definite answer – no, they arose after mass extinction,” Queen Mary University as stated by lead author, Dr. Sandra Álvarez-Carretero.

“The chronology of mammalian evolution is one of the most controversial topics in evolutionary biology,” continues another study participant, Professor Phil Donoghue of the University of Bristol. “Early research placed the earliest plantntals deep in the Cretaceous, the age of the dinosaurs. In the last two decades. discuss two scenarios of mammalian diversification – before and after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. Our results provide an answer to this question. ”

To obtain an unambiguous answer, the authors analyzed genetic datasets of almost five thousand mammalian species, including 72 complete genomes, and also developed a fast Bayesian approach to analyze a large number of genome sequences and account for uncertainties in the data.

“We solved the computational difficulties by dividing the analysis into steps. First we modeled the time frame itself using 72 understood genomes, and then overlaid the results for the remaining species,” another study author, Dr. Mario dos Reis, explains them. Queen Mary University of London.

Scientists hope that as new genomic data emerge, the method they have developed will allow them to quickly process it and get new interesting results to solve controversial issues of evolution.

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