The forgotten fossil of 410-million-years-old fish has provided a deeper insight into the origin of what may be called as “world’s first known teeth.”
A tiny tooth plate from the fossil fish Romundina stellina was found in a box, which had been in storage for more than 40 years.
Palaeontologists from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands and the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, studied the fossil using high energy X-rays at the Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, revealing the structure and development of teeth and bones.
Philip Donoghue from the University of Bristol in the UK said that the earliest teeth were like humans, but also structured like body scales in primitive fishes, so this supports the view that teeth evolved from scales, which arose much earlier in vertebrate evolution.
Lead author, Martin Rücklin of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden said that the results suggested that teeth originated deeper in the tree of life than previously thought.
The study is published in Biology Letters.