Similarities in DNA, the genetic material that's passed along from an animal to its offspring, can be a strong indicator of kinship. After all, even if you didn't get your father's nose, you got a hefty dose of his DNA.
Using that line of reasoning, an international team of scientists contends that markers in the genes of three proteins suggest a single African ancestor for animals as diverse as elephants and aardvarks. The researchers, led by scientists at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, present their findings in the Jan. 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Almost a third of the major groupings, or orders, of mammals actually can be lumped in