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Ancient shark discovery may rewrite our evolutionary history

RATE THIS! +25
Posted in Science on 17th Apr, 2014 11:17 PM by AlexMuller

Sharks are often seen as "living fossils," examples of evolutionary excellence that have not altered their design since they came into existence. Biologists have theorized that the respiratory system, fed by efficient gills, was present in the species since they first diverged on Earth more than 400 million years ago.

 

But researchers have recently discovered a fossil record that appears to refute that theory. A study of the 325-million-year-old "shark-like" creature, published in scientific journal Nature, suggests that ancient sharks might have developed their gills after bony fish did.

 

The authors of the study say the fossil, which represents the earliest identified cartilaginous fish with a preserved respiratory system, has a gill structure more like a modern bony fish than a shark.

 
The scientists say the findings "invert the classic hypothesis, in which modern sharks retain the ancestral condition," suggesting that sharks evolved their gills after bony fish, honing them over millennia.
 
The structure supporting these early gills is believed to have been essential in the evolution of jaws, a mutation that paved the way for the evolution of many land-based vertebrates, including humans. The scientists say the findings "profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history."

Tags: sharkbiologyevolutionoceanfossil

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-18
+2
Fossils have been critical in the past in making evolutionary connections and this ancient shark is a very significant one. It would be interesting to combine analysis of the fossil anatomy with DNA analysis Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-18
+2
Some people are quite sceptical about these findings and how useful this is. Some claim that " evolution’s history has been re-written over and over, you don’t even know what is! Such a waste of time and effort for this kind of studies that leads you to nowhere. Not even near reality! Sci-fi movies are better fit with sharks than this science claims. " I am not sure
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-18
+2
Science is about facts that are observable now, not what one thinks resercers might find in the future. And, you can not change facts. Those facts in science are not for you or anyone to change without verifiable observation. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-18
+1
Yes, it does sound kind of silly when you hear it over and over again, but in reality, it’s a clear example of the scientific process at work. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-07
+0
Woot, I will cetnairly put this to good use! Reply


 

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