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Scientists Examine Fishy Origins of Human Life

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  • Scientists Examine Fishy Origins of Human Life

    Humans have hardy prehistoric fish ancestors to thank for paving the way to their eventual evolution, a new study suggests.

    A Gladbachus shark fossil used in the research, pictured in the scientists' lab.

    About 360 million years ago a mass extinction event hit the reset button on Earth's life, wiping out most of the fish that existed then near the time when the first vertebrates (all animals with backbones) crawled from water towards land. The species fortunate enough to survive set the stage for modern vertebrate biodiversity.
    "Everything was hit; the extinction was global," said study leader Lauren Sallan of the University of Chicago. "It reset vertebrate diversity in every single environment, both freshwater and marine, and created a completely different world."
    The extinction hit near the end of the Age of Fishes (more commonly known as the Devonian Period, from 416 to 359 million years ago) for the broad array of species present in Earth's aquatic environments.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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