Scientists in Australia have discovered a heart in a 380 million year old fossil of a fish. A CNET report says the discovery has won the hearts of researchers at Curtin University Racing because it is not only “beautifully reserved” but may also provide clues about the evolution of jawed vertebrates, including humans. The fossil also includes a stomach, intestine, and liver, which have organs similar in anatomy to sharks. Details about the discovery have been published in the journal Science.
cnetThe report said that the heart belongs to the fish of the Arthrodire family which became extinct 358 million years ago. The specimen is older than the current record holder fossil – of a jawed fish.
The heart is S-shaped and has two chambers, which led researchers to draw parallels between the fish and modern sharks.
“Evolution is often thought of as a series of small steps, but these ancient fossils show that there was a huge leap between jawed and mandibular vertebrates,” said Professor Kate Trinajstik, a vertebrate paleontologist at Curtin University and Co-author of a study on the findings. , is quoted as saying by cnet, “These fish literally have a heart in their mouth and under their gills – just like sharks today.”
According to a report in independent, the fossil was found in the Gogo Formation in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The reef is known for its unique fauna and flora preserved from the late Devonian period.
Professor John Long of Flinders University, another co-author of the study, described the discovery as “truly the stuff of a paleontologist’s dream”.