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Long-standing mystery of vertebrate evolution solved


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The Evolutionary Morphology Laboratory led by Shigeru Kuratani at the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR) in Japan, along with collaborators, has found evidence that the mysterious ancient fish-like vertebrate Palaeospondylus was likely one of the earliest ancestors of four-limbed animals, including humans.

Published May 25 in the scientific journal Nature, the study unmasks this strange animal from the deep past and sets its position on the evolutionary tree.

Palaeospondylus was a small fish-like vertebrate, about 5 cm long, which had an eel-like body and lived in the Devonian period about 390 million years ago.



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