Skin deep: When mammals re-entered water

New insights in the evolution of mammals when re-entering water: The smooth, nearly hairless skin of whales and hippos look similar, but evolved independently. This is revealed by genomic and anatomical analyses partly conducted by Michael Hiller at LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics. The skin of these mammals fine-tuned for life in the water was long assumed to have come from a shared amphibious ancestor. The study published in “Current Biology” contradicts this assumption. It rather suggests that the last common ancestor was land-dwelling. Hence “aquatic” skin with specific adaptions developed more than once in mammal’s phylogeny. Read the article in “Current Biology” and the press release at Senckenberg (Photo: Zoo Duisburg gGmbH)

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