African lungfish

African lungfish

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Credit: TOM MCHUGH/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: African lungfish (Protopterus annectens). This fish inhabits the swamps and marshes of western and southern Africa. It has a pair of lungs, which it uses to extract oxygen from the air. The swamps in which it lives dry up seasonally, during which time it buries itself in the mud and undergoes a period of dormancy, known as aestivation. The lungfish has been found in the fossil record from the Devonian period, up to 390 million years ago. It has changed little in this time, and is considered to be a "living fossil". Photographed at Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco, California, USA.

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Keywords: african, air-breathing, animal, bony fish, living fossil, lungfish, nature, pisces, protopterus annectens, steinhart aquarium, wildlife, zoology

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