Perhaps you've heard about Entelognathus primordialis this week. Wait, the scientific name doesn't ring a bell on its own? What if I refer to it as the 419-million-year old placoderm fish that surprised everyone with its beautifully preserved, surprisingly modern-looking jaw? Entelognathus primordialis shakes our family tree at its roots; it unseats cartilaginous fish as our ancestors and puts the bony placoderms in their place. It is described in this week's edition of the journal Nature.

Rarely does a fossil fish make front-page news, even one as remarkable as this. But when it does, a great illustration helps propel the story along. Entelognathus' reconstruction is by Dr. Brian Choo, a post-doctoral researcher at Beijing's Institute for Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

Entelognathus by Dr. Brian Choo

Entelognathus primordalis reconstruction by Dr. Brian Choo

From: Min Zhu, Xiaobo Yu, Per Erik Ahlberg, Brian Choo, Jing Lu, Tuo Qiao, Qingming Qu, Wenjin Zhao, Liantao Jia, Henning Blom & You’an Zhu (2013) A Silurian placoderm with osteichthyan-like marginal jaw bones. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12617

Additional versions of this illustration as well as illustrated phylogenies that put the discovery in context can be found at Dr. Brian Choo's DeviantArt page.

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Every day in the month of September, we are serving up a different science artist for your viewing pleasure. Can’t get enough? Check out what was featured on this day last year: Eye Heart Yew by Lis Mitchell / Pixelfish.