Is there an estimate for when the ability of sneezing evolved? A little bit of research, and some critical review of my memories tell me that:
- Many, if not maybe all mammals sneeze.
- Some reptiles sneeze, like turtles and iguanas.
- According to this answer, I see some consider also some fish and even sponges to be capable of sneezing. However, I'd be curious to know if this is the actual same concept of sneezing, and not a stretch of definition, given that fish and sponges don't have lungs!
If it's common among mammals, I infer that it is very likely that this ability exists since at least 200 million years. I'd in fact suspect to be very unlikely that all mammals developed it independently after branching out from common ancestors. I am confident the sneezing of turtles is really comparable to ours and that although more explosive, also iguanas'. These reptiles (according to my superficial and inexperience Google research) are known to exist since more than 215 and 190 million years respectively.
However, I don't know how old a common ancestors of turtles, iguanas, and mammals can be dated. Or how likely it is that they independently developed this skill.
I'd be very curious to know if any expert ever dated this ability.