Then one of evolutions miracles

occurred. Fish began to grow bony jaws, and these coats of teeth moved from covering the fish's body to living in their bigger mouths. Now the teeth could be used for biting. With strong jaws and pointed teeth, these new fish became predators, feeding on smaller, toothless fish, and probably on prawn-like crustaceans.

One thing these early fish still didn't have was a real backbone. They did have one of sorts. But the trouble was that instead of being made of hard bone,

it was made of cartilage (that's what your nose is made of). Even today sharks have backbones made of cartilage, and not true hard bone. By about 370 million years ago (that's close to where your thumb joins your palm and a long way from your nose where life began), so many different types of fish had evolved that they ruled the seas. They left so many fossils that this time is sometimes called

Age of Fish


A name like Myllokunmingia probably sounds a bit strange. It's a mixture of Chinese and Greek words. The scientists who first named this fish used the name of a nearby town, and the Greek word myllos, meaning fish. Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province in China.

The species name of the fish is fengjiaoa, which comes from the Chinese word fengjiao, meaning 'beautiful'. So Myllokunmingia fengjiaoa really means 'beautiful Kunming fish'.

Haikouichthys is another Chinese and Greek word. It means 'Haikou fish'. Haikou is the town near where the fossil was found.

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