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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fossil Findings

Fossils of fish that wriggled around the seas more than 500 million years ago - about 50 million years before the oldest known vertebrates to man - have been found in China, researchers say.

The discovery of the 6.3-centimeter fossils suggests that vertebrates had already undergone considerable evolution by the Cambrian epoch, from about 490 million to 545 million years ago.

Cambridge University scientist Simon Conway Morris said the fish-like fossils are about 530 million years old, which would put them in the middle of the Cambrian period.

Until now, the oldest known vertebrate fossil was about 480 million years old.

Morris and researchers from China reported their findings today in the journal Nature.