World's oldest heart discovered in a 380-million-year-old fossil
The world's oldest heart was discovered in a "beautifully preserved" fossil of an ancient 380-million-year-old jawed fish.
Researchers from Curtin University in Australia found the heart alongside a separate fossilized stomach, intestine and liver, with the location of organs similar to modern shark anatomy.
According to the Daily Mail's report, the team hopes the discovery will help shed light on the evolution of the human body.
"Evolution is often thought of as a series of small steps, but these ancient fossils suggest a larger leap between jawless and jawed vertebrates," said Professor Kate Trinajstic, who led the study.
A 3D VIEW IS OBTAINED
Researchers found the fossil in the Gogo Formation, a reef 380 million years ago in Western Australia's Kimberley region.
While the soft tissues of ancient species are rarely preserved, the team was surprised to find that the fossilized organs were still intact.
The researchers used neutron beams and synchrotron X-rays to scan samples still embedded in the limestone.
This allowed them to create 3-D images of the soft tissues inside them.
The 3D images revealed that the fish has a complex S-shaped heart made up of two chambers, with the smaller of the two chambers sitting on top.