Chinese report important fish fossil find

May 5, 2006

Chinese researchers say a newly discovered fish species that lived more than 400 million years ago may represent a bridge between two vertebrate lineages.

The creature -- found in Yunnan, China -- combines features shown by ray-finned bony fishes, which include the majority of modern fish species, and by lobe-finned bony fishes, the group that spawned the ancestors of today's land vertebrates.

The ancient fish, represented by chunks from four separate skulls, has a skull roof much like that of actinopterygians, the group that includes most modern fish. But the fine features of its anatomy may also shed light on the evolutionary origin of cosmine -- a hard surface-tissue found in many fossil sarcopterygians, the fish that later gave rise to land vertebrates.

Cosmine is characterized by a network of pores and canals in the tissue, overlaid by a single enamel-based layer, reported Min Zhu and colleagues at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

They detail the unusual fish in this week's issue of Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: X-ray technology reveals a new bone in a very old fish

Related Stories

National challenge of leaking mines dwarfs Colorado spill

August 14, 2015

It will take many years and many millions of dollars simply to manage and not even remove the toxic wastewater from an abandoned mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy metals into Western rivers and has likely ...

Is the "new" Norwegian wolf really wild?

August 10, 2015

Loved and hated. Admired and feared. Almost wiped out and now restored. Wolves have a long and varied history in Norway and trigger strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

A novel toxin for M. tuberculosis

August 4, 2015

Despite 132 years of study, no toxin had ever been found for the deadly pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which infects 9 million people a year and kills more than 1 million.

Recommended for you

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.