Primitive fish found surprisingly advanced

October 18, 2006

Australian scientists studying spectacularly preserved fossils of the lobe-finned fish Gogonasus have discovered some unexpectedly advanced features.

The evolutionary transition from water to land exerts a continuing fascination, but many of the pivotal fossils are incomplete. In a paper published online this week by Nature, John Long and colleagues from Museum Victoria in Melbourne describe the remains of one of the most complete Devonian fishes yet discovered.

Gogonasus swam in the oceans about 380 million years ago. The specimen, discovered in Western Australia last year, was fishlike in many respects, but features of its ear and limbs are surprisingly tetrapod-like, Long said.

The study is to be published in print by Nature at a later date.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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