“It’s clearly a benchmark early vertebrate, which we haven’t had before,” Thurston Lacalli of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, who was not involved in the research, told The New York Times.
Over in Scientific Reports, a team led by You’an Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences this week (June 12) reported on a fossil of an early jawed fish that’s approximately 423 million years old. The large fish, Megamastax, appears to have used its strong jaws to crack open smaller, shelled fish.
“By sheer size alone, it could have eaten just about anything it wanted, although its teeth suggest it had a preference for hard-shelled prey,” coauthor Brian Choo told New Scientist. “Clearly there is an early history of jawed vertebrates that extends much further back in time that we currently know very little of,” he added.