Watch: World's oldest heart dating back 380 million years discovered in Australia
In Australia, scientists found the world's oldest heart in a 380 million-year-old type of fish. Scientists claim that the study, led by Curtin University in Perth, reveals how human bodies have evolved.
The fish fossil was discovered by researchers in the Gogo Formation in West Australia's Kimberley area.
The fish specimens were kept in limestone concretions, and the study team, led by Professor Kate Trinajstic, scanned them using x-rays and neutron beams, according to a statement from Curtin University.
The soft tissues inside them were then captured in three dimensions.
For the first time, research has produced a 3D model of a complicated s-shaped heart in an extinct type of jawed fish called an arthrodire. The study was published in the journal Science.
The discovery, according to lead researcher Professor Trinajstic, is amazing.
She continued, "As a palaeontologist who has studied fossils for more than 20 years, I was truly amazed to find a 3D and beautifully preserved heart in a 380-million-year-old ancestor."
The discoveries have important ramifications for the study of evolution.
“Evolution is often thought of as a series of small steps, but these ancient fossils suggest there was a larger leap between jawless and jawed vertebrates," Trinajstic said. "These fish literally have their hearts in their mouths and under their gills -- just like sharks today."
She continued by saying that the discovery provided crucial hints on the history of vertebrate anatomies.
The announcement about the findings added, "These features were advanced in such early vertebrates, offering a unique window into how the head and neck region began to change to accommodate jaws, a critical stage in the evolution of our own bodies."