Scientists now believe that they may have got the backbones of some early animals back-to-front.
The remarkable revelation not only means that the textbooks will need to be rewritten but that there is clearly still much to learn about some of the earliest quadrupedal species. New 3D models of the first four-legged animals known as tetrapods have now corrected the inaccurate depictions by turning several of the vertebrae the opposite way around.
The resulting models could help researchers learn not only about these early species but about how the spine evolved over time. "Their vertebrae are actually structurally completely different from what everyone for the last 150 or so years has pictured," said Prof John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College. "The textbook examples turn out to be wrong."
"Textbooks might have to be re-written when it comes to some of the earliest creatures, a study suggests."
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