Technology

Ancient Bony Fish Forces Rethink Of How Sharks Evolved


Now, an international team led by Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum and researchers in Mongolia have discovered a fish fossil with a bony skull that is an ancient cousin of both sharks and animals with bony skeletons.


This could suggest the ancestors of sharks first evolved bone and then lost it again, rather than keeping their initial cartilaginous state for more than 400 million years.


Lead researcher Dr Martin Brazeau, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: “It was a very unexpected discovery.


Most of the early fossils of fish have been uncovered in Europe, Australia and the USA, but in recent years new finds have been made in China and South America.


While the team are cautious not to over-interpret from a single sample, they do have plenty of other material collected from Mongolia to sort through and perhaps find similar early bony fish.


“This may be what helped sharks to be one of the first global fish species, spreading out into oceans around the world 400 million years ago.”






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