New Findings Rewrite the Evolutionary Story of “Fish to Human”

The Rise of Fishes

Five early Silurian fishes from China rewrite the evolutionary story of “from fish to human.” Credit: IVPP

The discovery of a fossil “treasure hoard” illuminates the rise of fishes. 

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences‘ Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) have recently found two fossil repositories in the early Silurian strata of southwest Guizhou and Chongqing that are rewriting the “from fish to human” evolutionary story.

Four different papers describing their findings were recently published in the journal Nature

Humans are one of the 99.8% of species of extant vertebrates that are gnathostomes, or jawed vertebrates. The basic body plan and several key organs of humans can be traced back to the origin of gnathostomes. One of the most significant developments in the evolution of vertebrates is the emergence of jaws.


The Chongqing fish fossil depository is the world’s only early Silurian Lagerstätte which preserves complete, head-to-tail jawed fishes, providing a peerless chance to peek into the proliferating “dawn of fishes.” Credit: NICE Tech/ScienceApe

However, how this innovation occurred remains a mystery, owing to the fact that fossils of early jawed vertebrates were not discovered in large numbers until the beginning of the Devonian (419 million years ago), despite molecular data indicating that the origin of jawed vertebrates should have occurred earlier than 450 million years ago. As a result, there is a significant gap in the fossil record of early jawed vertebrates, lasting at least 30 million years from the Late Ordovician to the Silurian.

Silurian Fish Graphic

Silurian Fish Graphic. Credit: NICE Tech/ScienceApe

The latest findings of Zhu Min’s team from IVPP are unearthed from two new fossil depositories, shedding light on the rise of jawed vertebrates: These jawed fishes were already thriving in the waters of the South China block, at least 440 million years ago, and by late Silurian, more diverse and larger jawed fishes had evolved and began to spread around the world, opening the saga of fish landing and our humans eventually evolved.

Discoveries of fish fossils from the two depositories help to trace many human body structures back to ancient fishes, some 440 million years ago and fill some key gaps in the evolution of “from fish to human,” and provide further iron evidence to the evolutionary path.

The Chongqing fish fossil depository in the Upper Red Beds of the Silurian system dates back to 436 million years ago. It is the world’s only early Silurian Lagerstätte (fossil depository with exceptional preservation) which preserves complete, head-to-tail jawed fishes, providing a peerless chance to peek into the proliferating “dawn of fishes”. This fossil “treasure hoard” stands among other great Chinese Lagerstätten: Chengjiang Biota and the Jehol Biota, all provide key jigsaw puzzles previously missing in the tree of life.

References: “The oldest gnathostome teeth” by Plamen S. Andreev, Ivan J. Sansom, Qiang Li, Wenjin Zhao, Jianhua Wang, Chun-Chieh Wang, Lijian Peng, Liantao Jia, Tuo Qiao and Min Zhu, 28 September 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05166-2

“Galeaspid anatomy and the origin of vertebrate paired appendages” by Zhikun Gai, Qiang Li, Humberto G. Ferrón, Joseph N. Keating, Junqing Wang, Philip C. J. Donoghue and Min Zhu, 28 September 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04897-6

“Spiny chondrichthyan from the lower Silurian of South China” by Plamen S. Andreev, Ivan J. Sansom, Qiang Li, Wenjin Zhao, Jianhua Wang, Chun-Chieh Wang, Lijian Peng, Liantao Jia, Tuo Qiao and Min Zhu, 28 September 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05233-8

“The oldest complete jawed vertebrates from the early Silurian of China” by You-an Zhu, Qiang Li, Jing Lu, Yang Chen, Jianhua Wang, Zhikun Gai, Wenjin Zhao, Guangbiao Wei, Yilun Yu, Per E. Ahlberg and Min Zhu, 28 September 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05136-8

The study was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

16 Comments on "New Findings Rewrite the Evolutionary Story of “Fish to Human”"

  1. So Jesus carnivorous?? Had fish then

  2. You guys need to back off on hyperbole. This discovery does not change the premise, it simply expands it. I would have read the article without the pointless “rewrite” hook.

  3. Agree with Terry. Stop with the misleading headlines. Your not FOX News or a click bate website.

  4. ,Shafeeq Hassan | October 28, 2022 at 3:09 am | Reply

    Well researched article on the evolution of human from fish.

    Interesting, instructive and informative. Thanks

  5. God created us, and not from Fish.Quit,pushing this narrative. Not all, are Lemmings, lol!

  6. We evolved in the tree of life,just like any other animal !

  7. People with brains of fish always say God did it.

  8. Where has common sense and thinking ability gone? Evolved from fish? It’s like something out of a science fiction fantasy. It has always amazed me that “great minds” go along with such a nonsensical notion. It’s a modern day version of The Emporor’s Nee Clothes… Why aren’t we still evolving today? Life spans have increased significantly since the dark ages; however, it’s due to advancement in knowledge and understanding of the human body and medicine, not because humans have continued to evolve into something better. If anything, our minds and bodies continue to deteriorate and grow weaker with every generation. Why haven’t we evolved into something better by now? Isn’t that how this thing is supposed to work? Let’s use our thinking abilities here. Why are humans so bent on perpetuating such nonsense? Time to put the “theory” of evolution to rest. It makes absolutely no sense and really does nothing for any of us.

    • “Why aren’t we still evolving today?”

      On what basis do you have to say that we are not?

      “Life spans have increased significantly since the dark ages; however, it’s due to advancement in knowledge and understanding of the human body and medicine, not because humans have continued to evolve into something better.”

      Is anyone making the argument that longer life spans indicates human evolution? This is a huge straw man.

      “…Why haven’t we evolved into something better by now? Isn’t that how this thing is supposed to work?”

      No. No it is not.

      I suggest you familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of what evolutionary theory actually does say next time.

      Then we can actually have a discussion about evolution.

  9. Don’t believe anything that comes from that Putrid country.

  10. I totally agree with David

  11. jadumoni gogoi | November 1, 2022 at 10:46 am | Reply

    Human still evolving but it is so slow one can not notice it right, have to wait era to know it .

  12. How can they be sure the fossil “ear” even came from the fish fossil? Maybe it was a petrified leaf from a plant? Fossils are often found mixed together.

  13. From fish to humans – what a crock. There have been significant discoveries in recent years of human fossils much older than the “Lucy” fossil which was discovered over 30 years ago.

  14. Critical Thinker | November 4, 2022 at 5:33 am | Reply

    Theoretically.. We should see a gain of information over time if evolution is true. A different chromosome arising. Perhaps due to environmental factors. Let us take dogs, since they are so varied. We have large breed dogs. Small breed dogs. Furry and flat haired. Their common ancestor is a wild dog/wolf. Take any one of those breeds and try to breed back to wolf. With each generation, will they get closer to being a wolf? The study of dominang and recessive genes indicates a problem for evolution. Evolution postulates an arise of information, a whole library of information in a single human, from nothing over a huge period of time. But genetics shows that environmental factors act on the gene pool and greatly limit genetic variability over a period of time. Rather than seeing animals gain new traits, we see animals and humans getting traits bred out of them with each new generation. Dominant genes A, usually are acted on and bred out of the population, while recessive a are becoming a common issue. If you have slowly bred out A from the population, how can you ever get it back over time using a. You cant. You would have to bring in new information from outside that population.

    That jnstantly calls into question the idea of information arising from no action taken. Over time we are losing information.

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