Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolutionary origins of our pretty smile

Date:
October 17, 2012
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
It takes both teeth and jaws to make a pretty smile, but the evolutionary origins of these parts of our anatomy have only just been discovered, thanks to a particle accelerator and a long dead fish.

Sculptured reconstruction of the placoderm Dunkleosteus.
Credit: Image by Esben Horn, 10tons; supervised by Martin Rόcklin, John Long and Philippe Janvier

It takes both teeth and jaws to make a pretty smile, but the evolutionary origins of these parts of our anatomy have only just been discovered, thanks to a particle accelerator and a long dead fish.

Related Articles


All living jawed vertebrates (animals with backbones, such as humans) have teeth, but it has long been thought that the first jawed vertebrates lacked pearly gnashers, instead capturing prey with gruesome scissor-like jaw-bones.

However new research, led by the University of Bristol and published October 17 in Nature, shows that these earliest jawed vertebrates possessed teeth too indicating that teeth evolved along with, or soon after, the evolution of jaws.

Palaeontologists from Bristol, the Natural History Museum and Curtin University, Australia collaborated with physicists from Switzerland to study the jaws of a primitive jawed fish called Compagopiscis.

The international team studied fossils of Compagopiscis using high energy X-rays at the Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, revealing the structure and development of teeth and bones.

Lead author, Dr Martin Ruecklin of the University of Bristol said: "We were able to visualise every tissue, cell and growth line within the bony jaws, allowing us to study the development of the jaws and teeth. We could then make comparisons with the embryology of living vertebrates, thus demonstrating that placoderms possessed teeth."

Co-author, Professor Philip Donoghue of the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences said: "This is solid evidence for the presence of teeth in these first jawed vertebrates and solves the debate on the origin of teeth."

Co-author Dr Zerina Johanson from the Natural History Museum said: "These wonderfully preserved fossils from Australia yield many secrets of our evolutionary ancestry but research has been held back waiting for the kind of non-destructive technology that we used in this study. Without the collaborations between palaeontologists and physicists, our evolutionary history would remain hidden in the rocks."

Professor Marco Stampanoni of the Paul Scherrer Institut said: "We performed non-invasive 3D microscopy on the sample using synchrotron radiation, a very powerful X-ray source. This technique allows us to obtain a perfect digital model and very detailed insight views of the old fossil without destroying it. Normally, our method delivers very high spatial resolution on tiny samples. For this experiment we modified our setup and reconstruction algorithms in order to expand the field of view significantly while keeping the spatial resolution high."

This work was funded by the EU Framework Programme 7, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Paul Scherrer Institut.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin Rόcklin, Philip C. J. Donoghue, Zerina Johanson, Kate Trinajstic, Federica Marone, Marco Stampanoni. Development of teeth and jaws in the earliest jawed vertebrates. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11555

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Evolutionary origins of our pretty smile." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017131834.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2012, October 17). Evolutionary origins of our pretty smile. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017131834.htm
University of Bristol. "Evolutionary origins of our pretty smile." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121017131834.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins