||Lampreys, one of two living lineages of jawless vertebrates, are always intriguing for their feeding behavior via the toothed suctorial disc and life cycle comprising the ammocoete, metamorphic, and adult stages. However, they left a meager fossil record, and their evolutionary history remains elusive. Here we report two superbly preserved large lampreys from the Middle-Late Jurassic Yanliao Biota of North China and update the interpretations of the evolution of the feeding apparatus, the life cycle, and the historic biogeography of the group. These fossil lampreys’ extensively toothed feeding apparatus differs radically from that of their Paleozoic kin but surprisingly resembles the Southern Hemisphere pouched lamprey, which foreshadows an ancestral flesh-eating habit for modern lampreys. Based on the revised petromyzontiform timetree, we argued that modern lampreys’ three-staged life cycle might not be established until the Jurassic when they evolved enhanced feeding structures, increased body size and encountered more penetrable host groups. Our study also places modern lampreys’ origin in the Southern Hemisphere of the Late Cretaceous, followed by an early Cenozoic anti-tropical disjunction in distribution, hence challenging the conventional wisdom of their biogeographical pattern arising from a post-Cretaceous origin in the Northern Hemisphere or the Pangean fragmentation in the Early Mesozoic.