Nature reveals the “missing link” for sharks, thanks to a cartilaginous fossil of a 383 million-year-old eel-like fish:
Christian Klug at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and his colleagues found the nearly complete skeleton — including preserved cartilage and muscle — of a new species of fish (Phoebodus saidselachus) that lived around 383 million years ago. It is the oldest known cartilage-based fish with an eel-shaped body, and its discovery pushes back the emergence of elasmobranchs 10 million years earlier than previously thought.
The creature’s jaw shape suggests that it had a weak bite compared with other early sharks. The skeleton closely resembles that of the modern-day frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus). The authors suggest that Phoebodus, like the frilled shark, might have swallowed marine invertebrates and small fishes whole.