Malphites are one of the oldest and most well-known marine creatures, and their fossils have long been a source of fascination.

Now, new research from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History suggests that they are the ancestors of the now-extinct shark, which is known as the great white shark. 

“The shark is not the only creature to have evolved from a ray, but it is one of only two known shark groups that has a similar history,” said study co-author Michael T. Miller, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian Institution.

“Malphite was a cousin to the great shark.

That makes it the only known shark species that was the direct ancestor of both sharks.” 

Miller and his colleagues collected DNA samples from three fossil specimens of the Malphitic molluscan and two specimens of Kayn.

The fossils of Malphitites are more closely related to the modern great white than they are to the shark, Miller said.

“It is important to note that we did not find the first fossil of Kaynd, but we found Kayn, the first extant species of Kay.

These are the only fossils of both species that were fossilized at the same time,” Miller said in a statement. 

Malphites have been found in all of the world’s oceans, but their fossilized remains are often the only evidence of the evolution of a new species.

Malphids are the smallest animals in the world, with the body lengths of about one centimeter (about 1/10 of an inch) and a head length of about three millimeters (just over an inch). 

“Malphitids have a very well-preserved skeleton and teeth.

This makes them extremely well suited to dating the evolution and extinction of sharks,” Miller told National Geographic. 

Scientists believe the two groups diverged from the group of sharks that today lives in the oceans of North America and Asia about 2 million years ago. 

In the past, scientists have thought that sharks may have been able to feed on sea cucumbers, which are considered by some to be the ancestor of all marine animals, but the fossils of the mollusk-eating shark are more recent, Miller told CNN.

“We believe that the shark that we find in the fossil record is the same species as the one that existed about 2.5 million years earlier, but there are several differences between the fossils,” Miller added.

“In addition, the fossil records show that the modern-day great white was a member of a group that also included rays, rays that we call pterosaurs.

And these two groups are actually quite similar.”

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