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New evidence that insect wings may have evolved from gills


by Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences
How did insect wings originate? This is a question that represents an unsolved mystery of insect evolution. Despite many years of research, it is still not entirely clear from which body structure insect wings actually evolved and what their original function was when they were not yet efficient enough to perform active flight.

Scientists from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences (BC CAS) were also involved in looking for answers to these questions in newly discovered prehistoric fossils of an ancient group of insects.

There are various hypotheses regarding the origin of insect wings. To some extent, they depend on the fact whether the common ancestor of winged insects lived in an aquatic or terrestrial environment. While several studies connect the origin of wings with the gills of some representatives of aquatic insects, the support of the terrestrial origin of winged insects is currently more prevalent.

New evidence is provided by an international team of researchers with the participation of entomologists from the Biology Centre in a study just published in the journal Communications Biology.

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