Human evolution might bring to the table something a bit weirder than what you’d commonly imagine. It’s has become by now a very well known fact that humans are linked to apes, but somewhere in that family lineage scientists placed a shark. In fact a new research says that primitive sharks are humans’ ancestors.
Imagining some of our distant ancestors had shark heads isn’t exactly ordinary. In fact it seems like a story right out of a low budget sci-fi movie where people with head sharks would be the result of some sort of mutation. A new controversial research says that primitive sharks are in fact distant human ancestors.
Basically scientists say that the man’s distant shark-headed ancestor was among the first fish that separate from sharks. It transitioned from the shark’s cartilage like bones to tough-boned species. It might sound quite impossible, but the evidence is found in a fish called Acanthodes bronni, that went extinct some 290 million years ago in the Paleozoic era.
The study explains that some 420 million years ago, animals split in two categories, the jaw-mouths gnathostomes and the cartilaginous species like sharks. The gnathostomes included numerous vertebrate species, including fish, sharks, humans and mammals or birds and reptiles.
John Finarelli is study co-author and professor in vertebrate biology at Dublin’s University College. “The common ancestors of all jawed vertebrates today organized their heads in a way that resembled sharks” said Finarelli. “Given what we know about the interrelatedness of early fishes, these results tell us that while sharks retained these features, bony fishes moved away from such conditions”.
By studying the Acanthodes bronni, researchers were able to see similarities with sharks. Michael Coates, also part of the study, said: “For the first time, we could look inside the head of Acanthodes, and describe it within this whole new context. The more we looked at it, the more similarities we found with sharks”.
National Science Foundation’s program director Maureen Kearney believes the research “shows us important evolutionary transitions in the history of life, providing a new window into the sequence of evolutionary changes during early vertebrate evolution”.