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An Ancient Fish Fossil May Reveal Hidden Secrets About Human Evolution

Representational photo

Representational photo

The 1.5 metre long fish fossil has trapped pectoral fin skeleton, which has been found for the first time in elpistostegalian fish.

Ever since Darwin gave the Theories of Evolution, researchers have been working intensively to find about the origin of human life.

A recent study published in the science journal Nature has unfolded another page about human evolution. Titled ‘Elpistostege and the Origin of the Vertebrate Hand’, the study reveals new insights about the formation and evolution of the human hand.

The connection was established after an international team of palaeontologists from Flinders University, Australia, and Universite du Quebec a Rimouski in Canada conducted their research on an ancient fish fossil.

Dubbed as Elpistostege fish, it was found in Miguasha, Canada and has shown the missing link during the fish to tetrapod transition.

The 1.5 metre long fish fossil has trapped pectoral fin skeleton, which has been found for the first time in elpistostegalian fish. The CT scan of the skeleton revealed the presence of the parts of a vertebrate hand. These include a humerus (arm), radius and ulna (forearm), rows of carpus (wrist) and phalanges organized in digits (fingers).

Professor John Long, professor in Palaeontology at Flinders University reveals that the finding reveals an important missing link in the history of evolution of the human hand. “It

tells us that the patterning for the vertebrate hand was first developed deep in evolution, just before fishes left the water”.

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