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Fishy Find Might Cast Light on Birth of Human Breathing

Posted: January 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Cankler Science News, Palaeontology | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Fishy Find Might Cast Light on Birth of Human Breathing

Fishy find Might Cast Light on Birth of BreathingThe emergence of life from water on to land is a pivotal moment in evolutionary history, and scientists say a new discovery may shed light on how it was able to happen.

Palaeontologists have verified a 200-year old hunch about an African fish and, in the process, showed how the first land animals developed the ability to breathe.

The scientists found the polypterus, a bony fish species, receives most of its oxygen not through gills but primitive nostrils on the top of its head.

Scientists had previously noticed similar holes, known as spiracles, in fossils of much more ancient species which are today regarded as the ancestors of modern land animals. Those species include the gogonasus, which inhabited the oceans 380 million years ago and was first identified by Flinders University palaeontologist Professor John Long.

His new research, in conjunction with a team based at the Scripps Research Institute in the US, has now been published in the journal Nature Communications. The discovery marks the first step in the evolutionary transition of similar ancient fishes to the land as tetrapods, or four-legged animals :: Read the full article »»»»