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C. A Surprising Discovery in Species Evolution

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you picture in your mind's eye an elephant, an aardvark and a golden mole, you probably wouldn't have guessed that these creatures evolved from a single African ancestor more than 65 million years ago. But that's just what biologist Mark Springer of the University of California, Riverside says their sophisticated molecular data indicates.

Springer: There's no previous work, no previous hint based on morphology that all of these things should be closely related to each other. So this really came as a surprise and I think a lot of the traditional morphological community was a bit upset with this! I think their attitude was that this was some wacky hypothesis that was just going to go away - but it hasn't gone away!

Narrator: In fact, using advances in DNA technology, Springer says they're continuing to sequence additional genes - including in different orders of species - and the support keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Springer: From the perspective of geography, it makes some sense. You've got a whole lot of things - a whole lot of orders of mammals that originated in Africa and they seem to be each other's closest relatives.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.