The earliest type of shark that roamed the ocean 280 million years ago has shed light on the origins of jawed vertebrates - including humans.
The extinct creature called Dwykaselachus oosthuizeni had huge eyes and was similar to today’s ‘ghost sharks’ - allowing it to swim at incredibly deep depths. Its remarkably preserved skull was dug up from rocks beneath South Africa’s unforgiving Karoo desert. From the outside it resembles that of prehistoric sharks known as symmoriiforms - notable for the male’s large brush-like spine which may have been used as a form of sexual display. But high definition scans shows telltale structures of the brain, major cranial nerves, nostrils and inner ear belonging to modern-day chimaeras - dead-eyed, wing-finned fish dubbed ‘ghost sharks’ because they are rarely seen by people.