The Daily Telegraph

Fossilised heart is jaw-dropping

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Scientists have discovered a fossilised heart belonging to a jawed Devonian period fish that dates back 380 million years.

With the “beautifull­y preserved” organ, they also found a fossilised stomach, intestine and liver, in a reef in Kimberley, Western Australia.

The findings, in the journal Science, suggest they come from the arthrodire family – an extinct group of armoured fishes that have anatomies similar to a modern shark. The discovery could shed light on how creatures, including humans, evolved.

Prof Kate Trinajstic, from Curtin University, said it is very rare to find soft tissues so well preserved.

She added: “These fish literally have their hearts in their mouths and under their gills – just like sharks today.

“Evolution is often thought of as small steps, but these fossils suggest there was a larger leap between jawless and jawed vertebrate­s.”*

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