Pre-historic fish had tiniest yet sharpest teethMarch 20th, 2012 - 12:58 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, March 20 (IANS) A long-extinct prehistoric fish had the sharpest teeth that have ever been recorded, even though they were only a millimetre in size.
Scientists from Monash and Bristol Universities showed the teeth of Conodonts, a group that first appeared around 500 million years ago, were easily able to bite through their food despite their tiny size.
The fragile nature of the tiny fossil remains of animals that died out more than 200 million years ago meant scientists had to create virtual 3D models using X-rays from a particle accelerator in Japan before they could conduct thorough research, the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports.
Study co-author Alistair Evans, from Monash School of Biological Sciences, said evidence suggested the Conodonts were the first vertebrates to develop teeth.
“Conodonts had no other skeleton than the teeth in their mouths. These came together a bit like scissors, to slice up food,” Evans said, according to a Monash statement.
“The Conodonts took an alternative route through evolution to humans, who developed less efficient, but less breakable, blunter teeth, to which greater force can be applied by jaw muscles,” Evans said.
“The sharpness of Conodont teeth allowed them to overcome the limitations of their small size. Since pressure is simply force applied divided by area, to increase pressure you must either increase the force or shrink the area. Conodont evolution took the latter route, allowing them to apply enough pressure to break up their food,” said Evans.
- 24 mn generations for mice to grow to elephant size - Jan 31, 2012
- Research suggests humans evolved from prehistoric sharks - Jun 14, 2012
- Archaeologists Discover Whale Eating Whale Fossil In Peru - Jul 01, 2010
- Man cooked food on fire far earlier than originally thought - Aug 23, 2011
- Ants wise enough to quit when their teeth wear out - Jan 09, 2011
- Did first humans emerge from Middle East, not Africa? - Dec 28, 2010
- 525-mn-year-old fossil sheds new light on primitive sea creatures - Mar 25, 2011
- Fossils of bird-like dinosaurs discovered in Australia - May 18, 2012
- Study sheds light on mysterious eel-like creatures that lived before dinos - Oct 30, 2010
- Bees help flowers grow same hues across oceans - Jun 08, 2012
- 66mn-yr-old 'bizzare' croc 'may have been a vegetarian' - Dec 09, 2010
- Scientist unravels secret of T.rex's fearsome snarl - Mar 19, 2012
- Discovery of cerebral cortex in marine worm offers insights into evolution - Sep 03, 2010
- Genetic clues to evolution of jaws in vertebrates discovered - Sep 25, 2010
- Sharks were once small, harmless fish - Sep 12, 2011
Tags: 3d models, alistair, biological sciences, co author, fragile nature, jaw muscles, journal proceedings, latter route, millimetre, million years, monash, particle accelerator, prehistoric fish, proceedings of the royal society, proceedings of the royal society b, sharpness, sydney march, tiny size, vertebrates, x rays