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A primitive fish that swam in tropical reef systems before life
clambered up on land had more advanced features than prev-
iously thought, a new study finds.
Scientists led by John Long of the Museum Victoria in Melbourne,
Australia, discovered the first complete fossil of a Gogonasus
fish last year in a limestone formation in Western Australia.
Prior to the new discovery, only parts of Gogonasus, including a
snout and part of a skull, had been found.
The newly discovered fossil “has all these remarkable details
preserved that none of the other specimens could show,”
The specimen, whose middle ear and limbs resemble those of
land vertebrates, could be one of the missing links between fish
and four-legged land vertebrates, bringing researchers closer
to the point when life reached the water’s edge.
When the scientists unearthed the Gogo fossil, they could still
open and close its mouth. “It’s like it died yesterday,” Long said.
The fish had a big hole in its head.
Called a spiracle opening, the cavity leads down into the gill cham-
ber used for breathing and is thought to be the forerunner for the
middle ear in modern land animals.
The fossil also showed the beginnings of a wrist joint and a complete
front fin, consisting of the same arm bones found in humans and
four-legged animals—the humerus, radius and ulna.
The scientists suspect the fish used the front limb to push off the
sea bottom and lunge at prey.
posted by iori_komei
A primitive fish . . before life on land . . had advanced features . . The fossil “has remarkable details preserved that other specimens could not show” The middle ear and limbs resemble those of land vertebrates . . the missing link . . between fish and four-legged land vertebrates . . close to when life reached the water’s edge . . the Gogo fossil’s mouth could still be opened and closed . . “It’s like it died yesterday” the fish had a hole in its head called a spiracle opening . . the cavity leads into the gill chamber and is thought to be the forerunner for the middle ear in modern land animals . . the fossil showed a wrist joint and front fin consisting of the same arm bones found in humans, the humerus, radius and ulna. [Edited by Don W]
This is IMO a pretty cool discovery. I love when discoveries like this are made, it helps to fill in the tree of evolution on our faire planet. Comments, Opinions?