For all of their academic prowess and access to technology, scientists today can only theorize on how and why modern creatures exist today. They know with relative confidence that all life on Earth today evolved from earlier life forms. However, in what shape and form those early life forms themselves existed remains somewhat of a mystery and indeed underlies the theories that scientists offer up now. With technology like CAT scans, scientists may be on the verge of confirming some of their most important theories about the basis for modern life today.
Identifying and Studying at Length Prehistoric Chimaeroid Fish
Out of all of the creatures found on Earth today, sharks remain some of the most mysterious for biologists and scientists in general. They can appreciate the way that sharks are born, live, and die. However, how did these fish get their appearance, instincts, and other characteristics that underlie their very nature today?
Scientists believe that modern sharks evolved from what are known as chimaeroid fish, which are thought to be the last of the vertebral fish before they evolved into what are known as sharks today. However, scientists could only speculate and wonder what chimaeroids looked like or how they behaved, particularly after the discovery of a fossil that was thought to contain the remains of one of these prehistoric fish. Thanks to technology like the CAT scan, they can now view at length the real nature of this fish and decide for sure if it is the predecessor of today’s sharks.
However, like many discoveries of prehistoric creatures, the CAT scan of the chimaeroid fish also has led to new questions about it and sharks in general. Scientists wonder why it had a vertebral system instead of the cartilage-like system modern sharks possess. Even more, what caused it to evolve as a species into the sharks that we know today? These questions make up a new set of theories that could become standard in biology and science books used in schools in the future.
The Importance of Studying Prehistoric Fish
Some types of prehistoric fish may have evolved into more than sharks and other modern creatures. In fact, they may have inexplicably gone on to share biological characteristics with humans. Scientists in Sweden and Denmark have discovered that a prehistoric fish called the Psarolepsis had a body that was covered in scales made out of enamel. This enamel is, in fact, the same enamel that is found on human teeth today.
The enamel on the fish’s body was used more as a weapon than a type of armor, however. Scientists theorize that the fish was able to use its body to target and overcome prey, which helped it survive while other prehistoric fish varieties were dying or evolving into new creatures.
Still, scientists do not know how the enamel from the Psarolepsis’ body made its way to humans and ended up being one of the most important structures of our mouths. While they do not propose that humans evolved from this fish, they do suggest that somehow the enamel made its way into other life forms and eventually into our natural prehistoric and genetic predecessors.
Prehistoric life holds the secret to many scientists’ most pressing theories. Unlocking those answers requires that scientists use technology like CAT scans to view and study fossils. Their studies have brought to life the possibilities that fish once had vertebral systems that predated the cartilage now found in sharks. They also have discovered that the same kind of enamel that covers human teeth was once found on the outside of the bodies of prehistoric fish.
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