(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists analyzed the fossilized remains of an ancient fish and found that human teeth began their history 400 million years ago.
Prior to this, it was believed that the origin of teeth dates back to arthrodires, ancient fish (placoderms), in which teeth were discovered. But it remained a mystery how these teeth could evolve into modern ones, since there were fundamental differences in structure and development.
In this study, scientists turned to even more primitive species of fish – acanthothoracides. Researchers studied one of the best preserved specimens located in the Czech Republic.
The bones of the fossil are difficult to separate from the rock, so the study was carried out using super powerful x-ray radiation (ESRF). The result surprised scientists, as teeth were found in these primitive fish. Moreover, as the researchers say, the mechanism of tooth development is strikingly similar to bony fish, sharks and modern animals. And fundamentally different from arthrodires.
“Despite the fact that acanthothoracides are one of the most primitive of all the jaw vertebrates, their teeth are much more reminiscent of modern teeth than the dentition of arthrodire. Their jaws are similar to the bones of bony fish and seem to be directly our ancestors,” says Per Alberg, lead author of the study.
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