Topic ID #20665 - posted 6/14/2012 2:41 AM

Shark-Headed Human Ancestor Swam With Fishes



Jennifer Palmer

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Shark-Headed Human Ancestor Swam With Fishes
    A common ancestor of all jawed vertebrates had a very shark-like head, analysis says.
    Wed Jun 13, 2012 02:04 PM ET Content provided by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Peer far enough back in the human family lineage, and you'll find a fishy ancestor that looked surprisingly like a shark.

In fact, this now-extinct fish was among the first to split from sharks, whose bones are made of cartilage, to evolve into a line of tough-boned species that includes everything from bony fish to human beings. A new analysis finds that this controversial class of animals was more shark-like than expected.

"The common ancestors of all jawed vertebrates today organized their heads in a way that resembled sharks," study researcher John Finarelli, a vertebrate biologist at University College, Dublin, said in a statement. "Given what we now know about the interrelatedness of early fishes, these results tell us that while sharks retained these features, bony fishes moved away from such conditions."


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