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Bizarre, primeval sharklike fish is unlike any vertebrate ever discovered - Livescience.com

Bizarre, primeval sharklike fish is unlike any vertebrate ever discovered - Livescience.com

Bizarre, primeval sharklike fish is unlike any vertebrate ever discovered - Livescience.com
Oct 03, 2022 2 mins, 8 secs

The bizarre creature, which is covered in spines and "bony armor," is the oldest undisputed jawed vertebrate ever discovered, a new study reports.

renovata belongs to an extinct group of shark-like creatures known as acanthodians, also called "spiny sharks," which have spiny fins and bony plates surrounding their shoulder areas.

The newfound species dates back to the Silurian period, between 443.8 million and 419.2 million years ago, and is around 15 million years older than the oldest known jawed fish, making it the oldest jawed vertebrate to date, researchers said in a statement (opens in new tab).

Scientists are especially interested in the emergence of jawed fish because their evolution was a major point in the diversification of vertebrates.

28 in the journal Nature (opens in new tab), the researchers revealed another new species of extinct jawed fish, Qianodus duplicis.

This species also dates to around 439 million years ago; however, it was described only from fossilized teeth and scales, which means researchers are more uncertain about exactly which group it may have belonged to. .

The same team also described three more extinct fish species from fossils unearthed at the site, reporting them in additional papers published on the same day.

Xiushanosteus mirabilis was an armored fish in a group known as placoderms; Shenacanthus vermiforis might have been a placoderm but also has similarities with some jawless fish; and Tujiaaspis vividus belongs to a jawless group of fish called galeaspids, which are known for having helmet-like shields on their heads, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (opens in new tab)?

vermiforis are still older than any other known species of early jawed fish.

Together, these newly described species completely change what scientists know about the evolution of jawed fishes.

Past discoveries had suggested that the emergence and diversification of jawed fishes didn't really start until around 420 million years ago, according to the study.

But the new fossils show that a variety of jawed fish were already swimming Earth's seas around 20 million years before that. .

"Until this point, we've picked up hints from fossil scales that the evolution of jawed fish occurred much earlier in the fossil record, but have not uncovered anything definite," study co-author Ivan Sansom, a vertebrate paleobiologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., said in a statement (opens in new tab).

—This 'ancient' monster fish may live for 100 years.

renovata and modern sharks, rays and bony fish, the team estimated that a hypothetical common ancestor — also a jawed fish — of chondrichthyans and osteichthyans could date back to around 455 million years ago


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