Research finds sharks to be humans’ long lost relative (1 Comment)

sharkwaterLatest evidence has shown that humans have more in common with sharks than we previously thought. Researchers have discovered that a now-extinct fish ancestor — Acanthodes bronniwas one of the first to split from sharks to evolve into a line of tough-boned species, ranging from bony fish to human beings. In-depth analysis has proven that this distant relative of humans is more shark-like than previously known.

A. bronni lived about 290 million years ago, during the Paleozoic period. The shark family and the bony fish families split about 460 million years ago. The researchers took 138 characteristics of the skulls and compared them with both the skulls of the chondrichyes, the group which includes sharks and rays, and the bony fish such as the sardines and mackerels of present day. After detailed analysis, it was found that the head of the A. bronni had much more in common with those of the sharks.

“For the first time, we could look inside the head of Acanthodes, and describe it within this whole new context,” study researcher Michael Coates, a University of Chicago biologist, said in a statement. “The more we looked at it, the more similarities we found with sharks.” The study also revised the relationship between the early gnathostomes, or vertebrates with jaws (whose members range from fish and sharks to birds, reptiles and humans), and the most primitive members of that group, armoured fish called placoderms. According to Coates, these recent findings will allow researchers to look more closely at how fish made the transition from jawless to jawed.

“It helps to answer the basic question of what’s primitive about a shark,” he said. “And, at last, we’re getting a better handle on primitive conditions for jawed vertebrates as a whole.”

One Response to “Research finds sharks to be humans’ long lost relative”

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