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Conodonts and the first vertebrates

Author(s): Purnell MA, Aldridge RJ, Donoghue PCJ, Gabbott SE

Abstract

More than 500 million years ago the first vertebrate made its appearance in the sea. It had no hard skeleton and fossil specimens are consequently unknown. Because of this, theories of vertebrate origins are controversial, but recently new light has been shed on this old problem. The evidence comes from research into the fossilized remains of conodonts, a long-extinct and enigmatic group of animals.

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