The fossil discovery of 400 million-year-old "platypus fish" has provided scientists with new insights into the early evolution of jawed vertebrates, an international collaborative research team announced Thursday.
The team was led by scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, involving scientists from the UK, Australia and Sweden.
High-precision MicroCT scanners were used to examine two skulls of Brindabellaspis found in Australia.
Brindabellaspis, dubbed "platypus fish" because of its long beak, lived in the shallow reef regions of eastern Australia 400 million years ago.
The study found Brindabellaspis had an inner ear that was compact in construction, (换行) with the upper and lower part having a clear boundary, similar to that of modern jawed species.
This set of features can also be found in humans.
In addition, researchers found Brindabellaspis had a well-developed endolymphatic sac that resembles the pattern of modern jawed fish, such as sharks.
This finding, according to researchers, provides a challenge to the existing understanding of vertebrate evolution.
The study was published in Current Biology on Wednesday.