Oldest heart in the world found inside prehistoric fish

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Posted at 9:13 PM, Sep 15, 2022

Researchers have made a remarkable discovery after finding the world's oldest heart inside of a prehistoric fish.

The 380-million-year-old heart was preserved inside of the fossilized remains of the prehistoric Gogo fish. According to scientists, it is a piece of history from a pivotal moment in evolution for the heart, vital in pumping blood throughout a living body.

The discovery was made in Western Australia. Professor Kate Trinajstic from Curtin University in Perth said the moment she and her colleagues made the discovery, she realized it was the most significant find of their lives, the BBC reported.

We were crowded around the computer and recognized that we had a heart and pretty much couldn't believe it! It was incredibly exciting," she said.

And people online had fun with the news, with writer David Barnett saying the Gogo fish sounds "hip and beat."

Prof John Long from Flinders University in Adelaide was a collaborator on the study and said the discovery was "a mind-boggling, jaw-dropping discovery."

Researchers have not known anything about the soft organs of an animal this old until now.

The Gogo fish is a class of fish from prehistoric times called placoderms. They were the first fish to have jaws and teeth.

Scientists found that the heart was much more forward in the body than that of other primitive fish.

Dr Zerina Johanson of the Natural History Museum in London, said, "A lot of the things you see we still have in our own bodies; jaws and teeth, for example. We have the first appearance of the front fins and the fins at the back, which eventually evolved into our arms and legs."

Johanson said, "There are many things going on in these placoderms that we see evolving to ourselves today such as the neck, the shape and arrangement of the heart and its position in the body."

Dr Martin Brazeau, a placoderm expert at Imperial College London, said, "The fishes that my colleagues and I are studying are part of our evolution. This is part of the evolution of humans and other animals that live on land and the fishes that live in the sea today."