The world’s oldest heart was found in a 380 million-year-old fossil of an ancient-jawed fish

World’s oldest heart unearthed in ‘beautifully preserved’ 380 million-year-old fossil of ancient jawed fish – shedding light on human evolution

  • The fish fossil was found in the Gogo Formation in Western Australia
  • His heart was preserved, along with his stomach, liver, and intestines
  • The heart has two chambers, the smaller one at the top
  • This discovery could help shed light on the evolution of the human body

The world’s oldest heart has been unearthed in the fossil of an ancient 380 million-year-old jawed fish “beautifully preserved”.

Researchers from Curtin University found that the heart along with a separate fossilized stomach, intestines and liver, with the placement of the organs similar to the anatomy of a modern shark.

The team hopes this discovery will help shed light on the evolution of the human body.

Professor Kate Triangstick, who led the study, said: “Evolution is often seen as a series of small steps, but these ancient fossils suggest there was a greater leap between jawless and jawless vertebrates.”

These fish literally have their hearts in their mouths and under their gills – just like today’s sharks.

World’s oldest heart unearthed in ‘beautifully preserved’ 380 million-year-old jawed fish fossil

Do all animals have hearts?

While most animals have one heart, some have multiple hearts and some don’t have any heart at all.

Octopus and squid have three hearts. Two hearts pump blood to the gills to absorb oxygen, while the other pumps blood throughout the body.

Worms are also unusual, with five structures called aortic arches serving as the primary hearts.

The hagfish has a true heart as well as three attached pumps that help the blood circulate.

Meanwhile, jellyfish, starfish and even corals do not have hearts at all.

There is no blood even in starfish, so this explains why a heart is not needed. Instead, they use tiny hair-like structures called cilia to push seawater through their bodies and extract oxygen from the water.

Source: Frontiers

Researchers have found the fossil in the Gogo Formation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which would have become a reef 380 million years ago.

While soft tissues from ancient species are rarely preserved, the team was amazed to discover that the fossilized organs were still intact.

“The really exceptional thing about the gogo fish is that its soft tissues are preserved in three dimensions,” said co-author Professor Per Ahlberg, from Uppsala University.

Most cases of soft tissue preservation are found in flattened fossils, where the soft anatomy is little more than a spot on the rock.

The researchers used neutron beams and synchrotron X-rays to scan samples that were still embedded in the limestone.

This allowed them to create 3D images of the soft tissues inside them.

We are also very fortunate that modern scanning techniques allow us to study these fragile soft tissues without destroying them. “Two decades ago, the project was impossible,” Professor Ahlberg added.

The 3D images revealed that the fish had a complex, S-shaped, two-chambered heart, with the smallest one on top.

According to Professor Trinajstic, this was developed for such early vertebrates.

“For the first time, we can see all the organs together in a primitive-jawed fish, and we were especially surprised to learn that they weren’t very different from us,” she said.

Researchers have found the fossil in the Gogo Formation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which would have become a reef 380 million years ago.

Researchers have found the fossil in the Gogo Formation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which would have become a reef 380 million years ago.

While the soft tissues of ancient species are rarely preserved, the team was amazed to discover that the fossilized organs were still intact.

While the soft tissues of ancient species are rarely preserved, the team was amazed to discover that the fossilized organs were still intact.

However, there was one fundamental difference – the liver was large and enabled the fish to stay afloat, just like sharks today.

Some bony fish today, such as lungfish and birch fish, have lungs that developed from swimming bladders, but it was significant that we found no evidence of lungs in any of the extinct armored fish we examined, suggesting that they evolved independently in fish osteophytes at a later time.

The researchers hope this discovery will help shed light on the evolution of the human body.

The researchers hope this discovery will help shed light on the evolution of the human body.  Pictured: Gogo fish dioramas at the WA Boola Bardip Museum

The researchers hope this discovery will help shed light on the evolution of the human body. Pictured: Gogo fish dioramas at the WA Boola Bardip Museum

Professor John Long, of Flinders University, who was a co-author on the study, said: “These new finds of soft organs in these ancient fish are really the stuff of dreams for paleontologists, as they are without a doubt the best preserved of these fossils. world for this age.

It shows the value of juju fossils for understanding the great strides in our distant evolution.

Gogo gave us the world’s first, from the origins of the genus to the oldest vertebrate core, and is now one of the world’s most important fossil sites.

“It is time to seriously consider the site as a World Heritage Site.”

Timeline of human evolution

The timeline of human evolution can be traced back to millions of years. Experts estimate that the family tree goes like this:

55 million years ago The first primitive primates to evolve

15 million years ago – Hominidae (great apes) evolved from the ancestors of the gibbon

7 million years ago – Evolution of the first gorilla. Later, the lineages of chimpanzees and humans diverge

5.5 million years ago – Ardipithecus, early ‘Neanderthal’ shares traits with chimpanzees and gorillas

4 million years ago – Monkey like early humans, australopithecines appeared. They didn’t have bigger brains than chimpanzees, but other brains more human-like

3.9-2.9 million years ago Australopithecus afarensis lived in Africa.

2.7 million years ago – Paranthropus, lived in the woods and had a large jaw for chewing

2.6 million years ago Hand axes became the first major technological innovation

2.3 million years ago It is believed that skilled humans first appeared in Africa

1.85 million years ago The emergence of the first “modern” hand

1.8 million years ago Homo ergaster begins to appear in the fossil record

800,000 years ago Early humans controlled fire and created stoves. The brain increases rapidly

400,000 yearsa Neanderthals first began appearing and spreading throughout Europe and Asia

300,000 to 200,000 years ago Homo sapiens – modern humans – appears in Africa

54,000 to 40,000 years ago The arrival of modern humans to Europe

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