Fish fossil yields jaw-dropping data on Man's past
PARIS (AFP) - The ancestor of all creatures with jaws and a backbone was not a sleek, shark-like beast but a toothless, armoured fish, said a study on Wednesday that rewrites Man's evolutionary history.
Scientists said they had found a 419-million-year-old fish fossil in China which disproves the long-held theory that modern animals with bony skeletons (osteichthyans) evolved from a shark-like creature with a frame made of cartilage.
The osteichthyan group includes most living fish, humans and other land animals with limbs.
It had long been thought that modern-day cartilaginous fish like sharks and rays, which form a sister group to osteichthyans, most closely represent the original jawed ancestor that gave rise to the two animal types.