Ancient fish may have set stage for jaws

New fossils reveal gills possibly on their way to chomping on prey

By Ashley Yeager, 13:38 PM June 11, 2014

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One of the earliest outlines of jaws may have been written in the gills of a fish called Metaspriggina walcotti.

The fish, which lived roughly 500 million years ago, had been described previously. But 100 new specimens collected in the Canadian Rockies provide a detailed look at the creature’s gill bars, the structures that ran vertically down the body and supported the gills. In M. walcotti, each gill bar had an upper and lower arch, possibly made of cartilage-like tissue. The f...

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