430 to 360 million years ago this armored fish that dominated the oceans, called placoderms, had the first teeth, according to a new research. Dunkleosteus. Image credit: wikimedia
A team of researchers, by using a particle-accelerator called a synchrotron, has discovered that these ancient jawed fish did indeed have teeth and probably sharp ones.
Dr. Martin Rücklin from the University of Bristol, said:
The evolution of jaws and teeth is thought to be the key innovation for jawed vertebrates, essentially leading to their success.
While sharks are primitive creatures, they’re not the same as the primitive jawed vertebrates that existed back in the Devonian, around 380 million years ago.
Professor Phil Donoghue, University of Bristol, said:
This is solid evidence for the presence of teeth in these first jawed vertebrates and solves the debate on the origin of teeth.
The findings were published online October 17 in Nature.
Dunkleosteus. Image credit: wikimedia
The earliest identifiable placoderm fossils are from China and date to the mid to late Silurian. They are already differentiated into antiarchs and arthrodires, along with the other, more primitive groups. Apparently placoderms already diversified into their current groups before the start of the Devonian, somewhere during the early or mid Silurian, though earlier fossils of basal Placodermi have not been discovered in these particular strata.