Bizarre, primeval sharklike fish is unlike any vertebrate ever discovered

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An animation of the ancient ‘shark’ Fanjingshania renovata swimming. (Image credit: IVPP/Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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Researchers in China have uncovered the remains of a 439 million-year-old shark-like fish with unusual features that “set it apart from any known vertebrate,” or animal with a backbone. The bizarre creature, which is covered in spines and “bony armor,” is the oldest undisputed jawed vertebrate ever discovered, a new study reports.

Scientists discovered the remains of the newly identified, extinct species at the Rongxi Formation, a renowned fossil site in Guizhou province, in southern China. The researchers named the species Fanjingshania renovata, after a nearby mountain known as Fanjingshan.

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