Ancient southern China fish may have evolved prior to the 'Age of Fish'
An ancient fish species with unusual scales and teeth from the Kuanti Formation in southern China may have evolved prior to the "Age of Fish," according to a study published March 8, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Brian Choo from Flinders University, Australia, and colleagues at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, China.
|Life restoration of Sparalepis tingi (foreground) and other fauna |
from the Kuanti Formation [Credit: Brian Choo]
Now, Choo and colleagues have described a new genus and species of Kuanti fish, Sparalepis tingi, which represents only the second Silurian bony fish based on more than isolated fragments. This new form, along with its contemporary Guiyu and the slightly more recent Psarolepis, possesses spine-bearing pectoral and pelvic girdles, features once thought to be restricted to the armored placoderm fishes. Sparalepis and its kin may represent an early radiation of stem-sarcopterygians, ancient cousins of modern lungfish, coelacanths and tetrapods.
|Holotype and interpretative reconstruction of Sparalepis tingi gen. et sp. nov |
[Credit: Brian Choo: CCAL]
Sparalepis adds to an ever-growing list of bizarre ancient fishes from the Silurian and earliest Devonian of Yunnan, suggesting that this region may have been an early center of diversification for the jawed vertebrates. The "Age of Fishes" appears to have arrived early during the Silurian of southern China.
Source: PLOS [March 08, 2017]