Which evolved first: eyes or ears?

It's up in the air whether early lifeforms developed seeing or hearing first. 

16th June 2016
Which evolved first: eyes or ears? (© Daniel Bright/BBC Focus)

Asked by: Corben Jubian, Sydney, Australia

Eyes, by at least 40 million years. The only invertebrates with ears are land arthropods and they didn’t emerge until about 480 million years ago. Older invertebrates had antennae that would have been able to sense vibrations in the water, but that’s not quite the same thing as hearing. Trilobites already had complex compound eyes 521 million years ago, and simple eyespots without a lens probably date back to 570 million years ago, when the first multicellular animals appeared. 

 

Read more:

 


SFQASubscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.

You are currently reading: Which evolved first: eyes or ears? - 16th June