Evolution through Shell Patterns

According to this article, scientists are trying to understand the ancient nervous systems by studying the patterns on mollusk shells. They think the patterns on the shells are some kind of ancient records which might give clues on how they evolve. In a similar way, it is like trying to record brain wave patterns. Through complex equations and simulations,  researchers use 19 different species of the sea snail Conus to create a model of the pigmentation patterns of mollusk shells.

They use a computer to imitate the patterns on the shells of different species, creating different models. “Since the parameters are telling the researchers something about the circuitry of the mollusks’ nervous system, this is an indirect way to study the evolution of a simple nervous system.” This is fascinating because I always thought patterns on shells was something natural. I did not know patterns on external shells could have any relation to their nervous system. Evolution sure does bring about unnatural characteristics.

What do you think about the relationship between an animal’s nervous system and their patterns?

How are mollusk shells similar to octopus and cuttlefish?


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