Fossilized tissue found in ancient fish

February 14, 2007

Australian scientists say fossilized muscle has been discovered in the remains of two fish that lived about 380 million years ago.

The fish, discovered in western Australia 20 years ago, belong to two species of an extinct group of primitive, armored fish known as placoderms, National Geographic News reported.

The remarkably well-preserved soft tissues included bundles of muscle cells, blood vessels, and nerve cells that are the oldest ever found. The tissue was discovered only recently during electron microscope scanning.

Fossilized muscle is quite rare and the discovery is even more remarkable since the remains weren't flattened, but were preserved with their three-dimensional shape intact, the researchers told NGN.

The remains shed light on the evolution of placoderms, which ruled the world's oceans, rivers, and lakes for 70 million years until they died out about 360 million years ago.

"On the evolutionary tree, they're the first jawed animal, and we're the last, lead study author Kate Trinajstic, a paleontologist at the University of Western Australia, told National Geographic News. "So they're our first jawed ancestors."

The research appears in the British journal Biology Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: New tyrannosaur fossil is most complete found in southwestern US

Related Stories

Fatty bird gland preserved over 48 million years

October 18, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the U.S., Ireland, Germany and the U.K. has found evidence of preservation of a fatty oil gland from a 48-million-year-old fossilized bird. In their paper published in Proceedings of ...

A solar-powered asteroid nursery at the orbit of Mars

October 18, 2017

The planet Mars shares its orbit with a handful of small asteroids, the so-called Trojans. Among them, one finds a unique group, all moving in very similar orbits, suggesting that they originated from the same object. But ...

Recommended for you

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past

October 19, 2017

Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that ...

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all

October 19, 2017

It's a small world after all - and now science has explained why. A study conducted by the University of Leicester and KU Leuven, Belgium, examined how small worlds emerge spontaneously in all kinds of networks, including ...

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas

October 19, 2017

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other ...

0 comments

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

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.