BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Sense of History

Shedding light on the evolution of nervous systems

28 May 2021

Sense of History

Ranging from just a few millimetres to 1.5 metres in diameter, blobby sea-dwelling comb jellyfish are thought to be some of the world’s most ancient creatures. However, there’s disagreement here, with some researchers believing that sponges – which have no nervous system at all – are older. So, did comb jellies evolve from sponges and then develop their own nervous system? Or did sponges split from jellyfish and lose their nerves? To find out, researchers have been studying the nervous system of the comb jellyfish Mnemiopsis leidyi, creating detailed images like this (nerves are shown in pink, while the fringe-like combs are green and blue) and analysing the molecules that send signals between nerve cells. Although there’s no definite answer yet on which came first, this study provides more data on what it takes to make a nervous system and could ultimately shed light on the evolution of our own complex brains.

Written by Kat Arney

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.