Scientists have a new 419-million-years old fossil discovery on their hands from China. The fossilized placoderm, a class of fish with armored plates that once ruled the ocean, is an example of the species Entelognathus primordialis, and is recognizable by its jaw. Evolutionary scientists believed that placoderms waned and then modern fish evolved. This discovery has led a team of scientists to resolve a major missing link in evolution.
What's interesting about this exciting discovery is that fossil finds from this geological time period have been of jawless fish:a type of fish that still exists today in the form of lamprey and hagfish. What's even more fascinating about the prehistoric discovery is that the newly discovered Entelognathus primordialis might be a direct ancestor of human life. While this may cause apprehension among creationists, it's a profound step forward not just within the paleontology field, but evolutionary science in general. Further research is necessary to establish that the Silurian placoderm is, in fact, the missing link to our ancestral connection.
Flinders University's Professor John Long thinks that "The biggest gap in the whole of early vertebrate evolution, down the base of the whole tree, is gap between the jawless fishes and the first jawed fishes like these armored Placoderms."
The fossilized fish is about eight inches long with bones still connected. Its head and shoulders are covered with bony plates. Upon finding the preserved fossil in rock formations at a reservoir in Yunnan Province, the popular opinion had been that the perceived ancestor to modern bony fish, humans, and sharks resembled shark-like features which implied its primitive nature.
The expectation is that this discovery can provide further insight and scientific understanding into the ancestral link between primordial Silurian placoderm and early human ancestors.