Friday, 19 October 2012

Evolution's Bite: Ancient Armored Fish Was Toothy, Too

A set of jaws can invoke visions of deadly toothy sharks, and now scientists find the earliest fish with chops — the ancestors of all jawed creatures with backbones — were also armed with teeth, researchers say.
The evolution of teeth and jaws in vertebrates — animals with backbones — about 420 million years ago is considered to be a key factor behind their success, making everything from a T. rex's razor-sharp teeth to a dwarf mammoth's grinding molars possible. However, whether jaws or teeth came first remains uncertain.
"It has long been thought that the first jawed vertebrates were gummy — [they had] jaws without teeth, capturing prey by suction-feeding," researcher Philip Donoghue, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in England, told LiveScience.

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