Complex nerve-cell signaling traced back to common ancestor of humans and sea anemones

Check out the Eberly College news story on our PNAS paper exploring the evolutionary origins of voltage-gated K+ channels. We find that many of the key channel types that shape electrical signals in our neurons were actually missing in the first nervous systems. However, they are still ancient and we can trace them all back to a common ancestor of humans and cnidarians (animals like sea anemones and jellyfish). We want to know why – what important event was going on in nervous system evolution at that time?