Hearts of Stone: A Fabulous Fossil Find
A groundbreaking study finds calcified hearts in ancient fish at least 113 million years old, the first whole fossil organs of their kind.
Paleontologists are besotted, but the objects of their affection have hearts of stone. In a first, scientists have discovered whole, perfectly preserved fossil hearts, found in fish unearthed in Brazil. The exceptional organs offer solid clues in our understanding of heart evolution.
A team of researchers led by Lara Maldanis and Murilo Carvalho of the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory found the hearts in previously collected fossils of Rhacolepis buccalis, a now extinct species of bony fish. The two specimens, which are between 113 and 119 million years old, hail from the Santana formation, a Cretaceous site in northeast Brazil renowned for its exceptionally preserved fossils.
Armed with noninvasive CT scanners, the team created highly detailed models of the two