Discovery of the oldest heart in the world

It is the oldest heart ever discovered by researchers. A 380 million year old fish heart.. It was found in a piece of sediment during a 2008 expedition north of Western Australia in the Gogo Formation. In addition to the heart, paleontologists have identified a fossilized stomach, liver, and intestine.

Originally a large reef, the Gogo Formation in the Kimberley region is a sedimentary formation known for its Devonian fossils. This geological period extends from -419 million years to -359 million years.

A shark anatomy

It is the first time that fossilized organs of this type have been found in this state of conservation, and with 3D conservation. Soft tissues of ancient species typically break down before fossilization. Therefore, Kate Trinajstic describes the discovery as remarkable.

The researcher from Curtin University’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and the Western Australian Museum declared that these ancient fossils suggest that there was a ” biggest gap between vertebrates without jaws and those with jaws “, not an evolution through a series of small steps.

These fish literally have their hearts in their mouths and under their gills, just like sharks today.adds the paleontologist whose article in which she participated as principal investigator has just been published in the journal Science.

3D modeling impossible before

The article is titled: “Exceptional Preservation of Organs in Devonian Placoderms from the Lagerstätte of Gogo.” The Lagerstätte is a sedimentary deposit and the placoderms are those famous fish that were the first vertebrates with a real jaw with teeth. They could measure 10 meters long.

It is thanks to sources of neutron and x-ray radiation that it was possible to create cross sections and use them to recreate virtual 3D models. Presented for the first time, the 3D model of the heart details an S-shape and two chambers, or cavities, with the smaller one located on top.

Placoderms are among the earliest jawed vertebrates, and transformations in their morphology help us understand the world of vertebrates that followed. […] Fossils show that lungs are absent, disproving the hypothesis that lungs are ancestral to jawed vertebrates.

NB: Thumbnail of the source: YouTube – Paleozoo.

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