Primitive fossil fish, <em>Osteolepis macrolepidotus</em>

Primitive fossil fish, <em>Osteolepis macrolepidotus</em>

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Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Two fossils of the primitive fish Osteolepis macrolepidotus, a rhipidistian from the Middle Devonian period (around 370 million years ago). The fish has a broad, flattened head & a tapering body covered with large, boney, rhomboidal scales. The rhipidistians are an extinct group of freshwater fish which gave rise to the earliest terrestrial tetrapods, the amphibians, and hence, ultimately, to all land vertebrates. The rhipid- istians, along with their close relatives the coelocanths, form the order Crossopterygii. This specimen was found in Old Red Sandstone in the Sandwick fish beds at Quoyloo, Orkney, Scotland.

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Keywords: animal, animals, close relative of!, coelacanth, crossopterygian fish fossil, fossil fish, fossil vertebrate, fossils, osteolepid fish fossil, osteolepis macrolepidotus, palaeontology, paleontology, rhipidistian fish fossil, vertebrates

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