Primitive fossil fish, Osteolepis macrolepidotuss

Primitive fossil fish, Osteolepis macrolepidotuss

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Credit: MARTIN LAND/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil 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. They were able to breathe air using lungs and possibly also live ashore for periods, 'walking' with their fleshy fins. The rhipidistians, along with their close relatives the coelocanths, form the order Crossopterygii.

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Keywords: animal, animals, crossopterygian fish fossil, fossil fish, fossil vertebrate, fossils, osteolepid fish fossil, osteolepis macrolepidotus, palaeontology, paleontology, rhipidistian fish fossil, vertebrates

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