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Research on an ancient fish hints at how modern faces evolved

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Fish from nature
Fish from nature

A new study by French and Swedish researchers sheds light on the evolution of the face as we know it today, all thanks to a long-gone fish. 410 million years ago, a tiny fish called the Romundina evolved separate left and right nostrils that were behind its lips, a feature that was halfway between jawed and jawless creatures. The study, which was published in Nature, fills in the blanks of how the transformation came to be by X-raying fossils of the Romundina's skull procured from Canada. What it found was that the jaw came first, followed by separate nostrils, a shrinking upper lip and a protruding nose. "This skull is a mix of primitive and modern features, making it an invaluable intermediate fossil between jawless and jawed vertebrates," Vincent Dupret of Uppsala University, one of the authors on the study wrote. Unfortunately for the Romundina, its efforts were not rewarded with long-term survival; it disappeared off the face of the Earth 360 million years ago.