Ancient Chinese lampreys are studied

The fossilized remains of two tiny freshwater lampreys have been found in Inner Mongolia, China, each about 125 million years old.

Scientists say the newly described specimens, members of the jawless vertebrates, offer a welcome glimpse into the lampreys' elusive evolutionary history.

Mee-mann Chang and colleagues at Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontologym and Paleoanthropology say their study suggests lampreys have changed little during the last 100 million years. The three-inch-long eel-shaped creatures have long snouts and well-developed oral suckers -- features that make them similar to modern-day sea lampreys.

The lamprey fossil record is meager because the creatures lack mineralized tissues, such as bone or calcified cartilage. So the new finds also help bridge a gap in lamprey history between modern-day lampreys and the 300-million-year-old specimens found in North America.

The discovery is detailed in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Citation: Ancient Chinese lampreys are studied (2006, June 21) retrieved 17 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2006-06-ancient-chinese-lampreys.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more