Ancient fish bone from China

Ancient fish bone from China

Chinese paleontologists have discovered in Yunnan province (Yunnan) in the sediments belonging to the upper Silurian, in the layers of the age 418-419 million years, the fossilized remains of fish. The study findings showed that the fish belongs to the class of bony fish (Osteichthyes) and combines the characteristics of two subclasses – the ray-finned (Actinopterigii) and lobe-finned (Sarcopterygii). Paleontologists have named the fish Guiu (Guiyu oneiros).

The Chinese paleontologist Zhu Min (Min Zhu) and his colleagues from the Institute of vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), China Academy of Sciences), devoted to the study of this fish, published in the Journal Nature.

According to modern views, from bony fish were almost all vertebrates, including, eventually, humans. By the way, do not confuse bone and bony fishes. We are all familiar bony fishes (Teleostei) arose in the Mesozoic and belong to the subclass of ray-finned fishes.

To the descendants of the ancient bony fish scientists classify all living clustertech animals except cartilaginous fishes – sharks, rays and chimeras. They stemmed from the evolutionary tree earlier. And here we are, in principle, can be considered distant descendants of the Silurian bony fish.

Unfortunately, the early stage of this evolutionary process is still not well understood., as they often paleontologists have to deal with scattered teeth and scales of the ancient fish.

But Chinese researchers found the fish to shed light on the structure of the ancient bony fish. It turned out that it combines features of both ray-finned and lobe-finned fishes. In particular, like other lobe-finned, her skull is divided into separate front and side bones. But the bones of the cheeks are more like early ray-finned. The researchers studied the shoulder girdle of the fish, the structure of its fins and scales.

Reconstruction of the appearance of Guiyu and its habitat.

Paleontologists stress that fish lived for several million years before the beginning of the Devonian period called the “age of fishes”, the heyday of these vertebrates. But the complexity of the structure of Guiyu shows that even in the Silurian fish have undergone serious evolution. It is possible that the early evolution of bony fishes occurred about 400-450 million years ago on the territory of modern China. At that time, the region, Guiyu, was an archipelago of many small Islands and were at the equator.

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