Swedish researcher finds missing piece of fossil puzzle

July 13, 2009

The mode of reproduction seen in modern sharks is nearly 400 million years old. That is the conclusion drawn by Professor Per Erik Ahlberg, Uppsala University, from his discovery of a so-called "clasper" in a primitive fossil fish earlier this year. The research results are published today in Nature.

In February this year, a paper published in Nature by a team of Australian and British researchers showed that placoderms, a group of ancient fishes that died out more than 350 million years ago, gave birth to live young. Beautifully preserved in the body cavity of the placoderm Incisoscutum showed that these fishes, close to the common origin of all jawed vertebrates, had a mode of reproduction similar to modern sharks. Live birth requires internal fertilisation; sharks achieve this by using a "clasper", an extension of the pelvic fin that functions like a penis. The authors looked for a clasper in their placoderm fossils but couldn't find one, so they were forced to argue that it had been made of soft cartilage and had not been preserved.

Shortly afterwards, Per Erik Ahlberg from Uppsala University visited one of the Australian researchers and spotted a perfectly preserved bony clasper in one of their Incisoscutum fossils.

"It was lying in plain view but had been misinterpreted as part of the pelvis and overlooked," he says.

Together with the original authors he is publishing a short paper in this week's Nature that presents this missing piece of the puzzle and completes the picture of placoderm reproduction from mating to birth.

"It provides a pedigree of nearly 400 million years for the "advanced" and seemingly specialised reproductive biology of modern ," says Per Ahlberg.

More information: Read the article in Nature.

Source: Uppsala University (news : web)

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1 / 5 (1) Jul 14, 2009
Looks to me like sharks have always been sharks. In Figure 2.10 of his text, Mike Benton shows the Placodermi, Acanthodii, Osteichthyes, Chondrichthyes and Agnatha all appearing separately and suddenly. He states the *dashed lines indicate hypothesized relationships* (i.e. darwinian evolution). Evolutionist Michael Denton in his book Evolution: a Theory in Crisis shows the jawless fish, cartilaginous fish and bony fish all appearing suddenly in the fossil record. He states, *The dotted lines represent hypothetical lineages required by evolution to link the various groups together* (p. 173). Colbert in his Geologic time chart (p. 8) shows the Agnathans, Placoderms, Acanthodians, Cartilaginous fishes and Bony fishes appearing suddenly and separately. Dotted lines (which are evidently evolutionary theory) connect the last four groups to the Agnathans. Neither Colbert, Mike Allaby (1992), Benton, nor Anderson and Sues (2007) refer to Chlamydoselache as a missing link. What about Hybodus - is it a transitional form? No. atheist Barb Stahl says the descendants of hybodonts are *aberrant* (p. 185). Benton says *Molecular analyses of chondrichthyan phylogeny so far do not support the morphological tree* (p. 165). Sharks have always been . . . sharks.
not rated yet Jul 15, 2009
Sharks have always been . . . sharks.

Of couse. Like chickens have always been chickens BUT there was a time when there was much like a chicken but it wasn't a chicken. Same for whatever preceded sharks. After all sharks have been around for for far longer than the Bible allows. And they ate flesh. Millions of years ago.


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