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An extinct primitive marine vertebrate had the sharpest dental structures ever known — with tips just one-twentieth of the width of a human hair, but able to apply pressures that could compete easily with those from human jaws.

Fossilized conodont teeth, seen here in a scanning electron microscope image, are sharper than any other teeth ever found. The tips are just 2 micrometres across.---D. Jones

The razor-sharp teeth belonged to conodonts, jawless vertebrates that evolved some 500 million years ago in the Precambrian eon and went extinct during the Triassic period, around 200 million years ago. The creatures roamed the planet for longer than any other vertebrate so far; and despite their lack of jaws, they were the first creatures to evolve teeth.

Learn more at Nature

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