3D prints of a 400 million year old fish fossil found in Australia have been created by scientists. It might unveil how human teeth evolved.
The study helped determine when and how teeth - a characteristic feature of all animal species with jaws, including humans - had originated in evolutionary history, said Gavin Young from ANU.
Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) and Queensland Museum digitally dissected the jaws of a fossil Buchanosteus - an armoured fish from the extinct placoderm group - and used the 3D prints to learn how the jaws moved and whether the fish had teeth.
The evolutionary origin of teeth was a major scientific question, said Yuzhi Hu, a PhD candidate at ANU.
“We are researching this question using new evidence from an exceptionally preserved fossil fish about 400 million years old,” said Hu.
“It’s great that we are able to use recent technology, such as micro-CT scanning and 3D printing, to examine some of the earliest known evidence of tooth-like structures in the most primitive jawed fishes,” said Carole Burrow from Queensland Museum.
“Placoderms have been a common focus in the question of tooth origins,” said Burrow.
The new study was published in the journal Biology Letters.