Skip to comments.From Obscurity to Dominance: Tracking the Rapid Evolutionary Rise of Ray-Finned Fish
Posted on 07/28/2013 3:19:32 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Mass extinctions, like lotteries, result in a multitude of losers and a few lucky winners. This is the story of one of the winners, a small, shell-crushing predatory fish called Fouldenia, which first appears in the fossil record a mere 11 million years after an extinction that wiped out more than 90 percent of the planet's vertebrate species.
The extinction that ended the Devonian Era 359 million years ago created opportunities quickly exploited by a formerly rare and unremarkable group of fish that went on to become -- in terms of the sheer number of species -- the most successful vertebrates (backboned animals) on the planet today: the ray-finned fish.
A University of Michigan evolutionary biologist and a colleague have shown that the previously known but misclassified Fouldenia was the first recorded shell-crushing ray-finned fish. This long-extinct fish, and a handful of its relatives, demonstrate that in the immediate aftermath of the end-Devonian extinction, ray-finned fish had already acquired a diversity of forms that gave them an evolutionary edge, enabling them to fill the ecological vacuum left by the demise of most major fish groups.
"This event 359 million years ago is called the Hangenberg extinction, and it nearly wiped out vertebrate life, which at the time was limited to the water," said Lauren Sallan...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
The first-known shell-crushing ray-finned fish, Fouldenia, is shown swimming along the bottom of a tropical freshwater floodplain about 348 million years ago. The Fouldenia fossils came from a site in Scotland that also produced the earliest-known post-extinction tetrapods, four-limbed creatures that later crawled ashore and evolved into amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. An early tetrapod is shown at the top of the image. (Credit: Painting by John Megahan)
Who's been keeping the wraps on our ability to time travel? I was expecting a depiction rather than an actual photograph.
Not ragging you - I love your posts on the various topics. Just need some extra humor (dry and sarcastic as it is) to balance all the disgusting "news" in the world.