A fishy mammal ID

For more than a century, the fossilized skull of an ancient fish was misidentified as a primate

By Sid Perkins, 14:59 PM November 13, 2012



Ever make a big error on your homework? A really embarrassing one? Don’t worry. Even well-trained scientists can make a whopper of a mistake now and again.


In the 1890s, paleontologist Florentino Ameghino began studying a small fossil skull that had been given to him by a local collector, in Argentina. At first glance, the broad, chisel-like teeth at the front of the skull — the only part of the fossil not covered with rock — looked like those belonging to lemurs. A distant relative of apes...

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