Early in eukaryote evolution came the separation of bikonts and opisthokonts. Bikonts gave rise to green plants and major protozoan groups, whereas opisthokonts are the common ancestors of fungi, animals, and choanozoans. The Opisthokonta group contains protists (both free-floating and colonial) with one flagellum at some stage in their life history. The actual name "opisthokont" refers to the posterior (opistho) location of the flagellum (kont) in swimming cells. Molecular evidence (ribosomal RNA sequence phylogeny and conservation of proteins) indicates the close relationship of animals and fungi via this common ancestor, but opisthokonts have few discriminating characteristics that extend throughout the group.

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