MARTIN LAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN LAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Birkenia elegans, one of the oldest known fossil fish. It dates from the Silurian Period, approximately 400 million years ago. It belongs to the class Agnatha and represents an evolutionary stage before vertebrates had acquired jaws. Such armoured jawless forms gave rise to true jawed fish, but the primitive agnathan stage is represented in the present day by the cartilaginous lampreys and hagfish. This rare specimen comes from Scotland.
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