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Until recently there was scientific consensus that sponges were the first animals to branch off the “Animal Tree of Life,” a kind of family tree for all living and extinct animals on earth. But recent DNA research has cast doubt on that theory, with some scientists suggesting that ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, are an older lineage.
Major funding for this program was provided by the Batchelor Foundation, encouraging people to preserve and protect America’s underwater resources. Additional funding was provided by Diver’s Direct/Emocean Sports, inspiring the pursuit of adventure and water sports; In Memory of Harriet Fagan, the Do Unto Others Trust, and The William J. McKeehan Foundation.
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