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Lampreys Haven't Changed Much In 360 my
Scientists from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South
Africa, and the University of Chicago have uncovered a remarkably
well-preserved fossil lamprey from the Devonian period that reveals
today's lampreys as "living fossils" since they have remained largely
unaltered for 360 million years.
"This fossil changes how we look at lampreys today," said Coates,
associate professor of organismal biology and anatomy. "They're very
ancient, very primitive animals, yet with highly specialized feeding
It reveals that the anatomical evolution of lampreys is more conservative
than scientists thought, Coates added. Although they've gotten slightly
longer, they specialized early and successfully and thus appeared to have
stayed much the same for the past 360 million years.