“What we’ve made lets us dig ten times deeper than what we’ve been able to do before, helping us to see hundreds of millions of years into the past,” says Evan Floden, a researcher at the Center for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona who led on developing a new tool that simultaneously compares 1.4 million genetic sequences. “Our technology is essentially a time machine that tells us how ancient constraints influenced genes in a way that resulted in life as we know today, much like how the Hubble Space Telescope observes things that happened millions of years ago to help us understand the Universe we live in today.”
Epochs of intense climate change trigger the evolution of new species. The deep sea, the planet’s largest ecosystem, is an ancient ark of relics from the dinosaur era, where “living fossils” exist at the same time that new species are rapidly evolving. New research shows that evolution of new species to be highest in Earth’s coldest region, Antarctica, whose waters are still recovering from extinction events of tens of millions of years ago, when ice sheets began to dominate and water temperatures plummeted.