February 1, 2010

Rotting Fish Shed Light On Our Early Ancestors

Decaying corpses are usually the domain of forensic scientists, but palaeontologists have discovered that studying rotting fish sheds new light on our earliest ancestry. The researchers, from the Department of Geology at the University of Leicester, devised a new method for extracting information from 500 million year old fossils -they studied the way fish decompose to gain a clearer picture of how our ancient fish-like ancestors would have looked. Their results indicate that some of the earliest fossils from our part of the tree of life may have been more complex than has previously been thought. This video is of an adult lamprey decaying, 200 days in 36 seconds. Credit: University of Leicester

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