Ancient toothless ‘eel’ is your earliest known ancestor

More than a century ago, scientists were stunned by the discovery of an unusual fossil unearthed in a Scottish quarry. The remains suggested a toothless eel-like creature with a possible cartilaginous skeleton and was named after the mysterious creature for 130 years Palaeospondylus gunni — excavated, it continued to resist classification. Now, using high-resolution imaging, a research team has finally determined that this mysterious fish may very well be one of our earliest ancestors.

“Put down Palaeospondylus in the evolutionary tree, identifying each skeletal element is a prerequisite,” said Tatsuya Hirasawa, associate professor of paleontology at the University of Tokyo in Japan and lead author of a new study describing the fossil. The mysteries surrounding this little fish have lingered for so long because of two factors: its tiny size, with a body just 6 centimeters long, and the unfortunate fact that fossilization has dramatically compressed its skeleton, compressing individual bones into a contorted mass that unraveling a paleontological nightmare, Hirasawa told Live Science in an email.

https://www.livescience.com/ancient-fishlike-weirdo-tetropod-ancestor Ancient toothless ‘eel’ is your earliest known ancestor

Russell Falcon

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