back to article Fossil brain undoes 350 million years of scientific understanding

A fish fossil first described in northwest England more than 100 years ago is shedding light on the evolution of the brain with the help of X-ray scanning and 3D reconstruction. Many vertebrates' forebrains are formed from the neural tube in the embryo by two cerebral hemispheres that enclose a hollow space called a ventricle …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    This is a good story - Thank You!

    However it's worth remembering (this is just a thought, not a criticism) that evolution is basically a result of sexual extensions; An entity evolves and it more popular after "parties" in the evening which "results" in more entities being born and the population increasing ... potentially evolving more over thousands of years to reproduce and "evolve" some more. So all evolution has to be something that extends the populations - essentially this is suggesting that smarter fish evolved more and more, eventually resulting on a fish evolving to breath air and then flop around on the river banks, finding mushrooms to eat and developing their fins into legs and arms and becoming animals that climbed trees.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      ...and eventually reached the pinnacle of evolution when they invented digital watches :-)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Shirley digital watches should be updated to fondleslabs?

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Twas an HHGTTG reference.

          1. jake Silver badge

            One word:


        2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

          Humph, more background reading needed Jake, you wont be able to keep up otherwise...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Reading? That line is so old I first heard it on the radio.

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Of course, radio.

              Which radio station carried it in the US?

              Obviously, BBC Radio 4 carried it in the UK, but it was largely ignored for ages after the first play and repeat of each show in 1977.

              In fact, the BBC ignored it so much that the first series had to be re-recorded for it's release on vinyl and tape.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Of course, radio.

                I heard it on Radio 4 in England when it first ran in '78. I recorded it on cassette, including the xmas special (gawd/ess knows why), and still have those cassettes (again, gawd/ess knows why). My friends and I heard about it a couple days in advance when John Peel plugged it on his radio show after somehow accidentally managing to be allowed to sit in on a rehearsal.

                A trifle later, It ran on NPR as part of their Playhouse series. (That's National Public Radio, for you Brits). I listened to that broadcast, too, turned all my friends onto it. It became a bit of a cult hit on the Stanford and Berkeley campuses. There were actually old-fashioned "listen to the radio show" parties.

    2. jake Silver badge

      "evolution is basically a result of sexual extensions"

      Nope. It's about survival, with a dash of persistence and a pinch of endurance. An individual has to stick around long enough, and stay healthy enough, to reproduce. There are plenty of species out there which practice asexual reproduction. They evolve, too, although somewhat slower than those prone to spreading their genes out more indiscriminately.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boffinry of the first water!

  3. Tom 7

    evaginated forebrain

    naaaaa. Just fell over pissed orrificor

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "this fossil is the oldest known fossilized vertebrate brain"

    They need to meet my management chain (ba dum TISSSH)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: "this fossil is the oldest known fossilized vertebrate brain"

      Or the US Senate.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: "this fossil is the oldest known fossilized vertebrate brain"

        Works also for the French one.

  5. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    350 million years of scientific understanding

    I hear those notebooks left behind by the Carboniferous amphibians make for interesting reading. Unfortunately they were checked out of the library by some early birds, and unless the library waives 110 million years of fines they are unlikely to ever be checked back in.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: 350 million years of scientific understanding

      Very early birds indeed, at 110 million years ago.

      Not that it would have done them any good ... all they could read was chicken scratches.

  6. spold Silver badge


    >>> point to the importance of ancient soft tissue preservation in understanding the deep evolutionary assembly of major anatomical systems outside of the narrow subset of skeletal tissues<<<, I shouldn't throw out that sushi that's been in the fridge since last weekend?

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Conclusion....

      That gas station sushi looks better and better...

  7. Sudosu Bronze badge

    They missed the important bit

    I mean the scan thing is really neat and all, but...

    How did these fish taste pan fried in butter?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: They missed the important bit

      At around 3 inches, they were bait-fish, and not food. Rather, they were what food ate.

      However, if I had to hazard a guess, they probably tasted not entirely unlike chic^W^W^W^W cod.

  8. Sudosu Bronze badge

    So does this count as...wait for it...

    Click bait?

    I'm here all week, enjoy your fillet.

  9. jake Silver badge

    Toob of Ewe video from ...

    ... Matt Friedman, associate professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, the head researcher on the project, is available here.

    One more piece of the puzzle. Dancing rodents and a beer to them.

    For those of you who prefer easy copy/paste:

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