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I've always loved living fossils, especially the fish. They are relics of an age long lost, offering us a glimpse of an incredible prehistoric world. Some are enigmas that survived countless extinction events since the Devonian. Others are majestic predators that swam alongside the dinosaurs. Let me present my collection of living fossil fishes from the Mesozoic and before. I will begin with one of the most famous of all - the coelacanth

 

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Coelacanth
Species: Whiteia woodwardi
Age: 252.3 - 251.3 mya | early Triassic
Formation: Diego Basin; Middle Sakamena Formation
Locality: Ambilobe, Madagascar
First appearance: Eoachtinistia foreyi was found 360 million years ago in Australia

 

 

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Paddlefish
Species: Protopsephurus liui
Age: 125.5 - 112.5 mya | early Cretaceous
Formation: Yixian Formation
Locality: Lingyuan City, Liaoning
First appearance: This is the oldest known species

 

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Sturgeon
Species: Peipiaosteus fengningensis
Age: 125.5 - 120 mya | early Cretaceous
Formation: Jehol Biota
Locality: Chifeng, Nei Mongol
First appearance: Multiple species e.g. Yanosteus longidorsalis found since 125 million years ago in China

 

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Pipefish
Species: Hipposygnathus sp.
Age: 28.1 - 13.8 mya | Oliogocene - Miocene
Formation: Monterey Formation
Locality: Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA
First appearance: Solenostomidae species were found 55.8 million years ago in Italy
Note: Although most of this collection only includes fishes that existed since the Mesozoic or later, I made an exception for the pipefish as their order, syngnathiform, existed since the late Cretaceous

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Ray/Skate
Species: Cyclobatis cf. oligodactylus
Age: 99.7 - 94.3 mya | late Cretaceous
Formation: Sannine Limestone Formation
Locality: Hajoula, Lebanon
First appearance: Antiquaobatis grimmenensis was found 183 million years ago in Germany

 

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Shark
Species: Scyliorhinus sp.
Age: 99.7 - 94.3 mya | late Cretaceous
Formation: Sannine Limestone Formation
Locality: Hakel, Lebanon
First appearance: Elegestolepis grossi was found since 420 million years ago in Russia

 

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Bowfin
Species: Cyclurus keheri
Age: 48.6 - 40.4 mya | Eocene
Formation: Messel Formation
Locality: Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany
First appearance: Guizhouamia bellula was found since 242 million years ago in China

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Gar
Species: Atractosteus messelensis
Age: 48.6 - 40.4 mya | Eocene
Formation: Messel Formation
Locality: Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany
First appearance: Lepisosteidae indet. found since 145.5 million years ago in multiple countries

 

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Eel
Species: cf. Anguillavus quadripinnis
Age: 99.7 - 94.3 mya | late Cretaceous
Formation: Sannine Limestone Formation
Locality: Hajoula, Lebanon
First appearance: Protanguilla palau is an extant species. Based off morphology and whole mitochondrial genomes data, its lineage probably existed since 200 million years ago

 

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Flagfin
Species: Nematonotus longispinus
Age: 99.7 - 94.3 mya | late Cretaceous
Formation: Sannine Limestone Formation
Locality: Hakel, Lebanon
First appearance: This is the oldest known genus

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Arowana
Species: Pharoedus encaustus
Age: 55.8 - 46.2 mya | early Eocene
Formation: Green River Formation
Locality: Lincoln County, Wyoming, USA
First appearance: Osteoglossidae indet. was found 140.2 million years ago in Japan

 

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Pike
Species: Esox lucius
Age: 0.13 - 0.115 mya | late Pleistocene
Formation: Eem Formation
Locality: Zandmotor, Netherlands
First appearance: Estesesox foxi was found 84.9 million years ago in Canada

 

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Bichir
Species: Bawitius bartheli
Age: 99.7 - 94.3 mya | late Cretaceous
Formation: Kem Kem Beds
Locality: East of El Begga, Southeast Morocco
First appearance: This is the oldest known species

 

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Lamprey
Species: Mesomyzon cf. mengae
Age: 135.4 - 126.3 mya | early Cretaceous
Formation: Huajiying Formation
Locality: Weichang, Hebei Province
First appearance: Priscomyzon riniensis was found 360 million years ago in South Africa

 

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Hagfish
Species: Gilpichthys greenei
Age: 311.4 - 306.9 mya | Late Carboniferous
Formation: Carbondale Formation; Francis Creek Shale Member
Locality: Grundy County, Illinois, USA
First appearance: Multiple species e.g. Myxinikela siroka found since 318 million years ago in USA

 

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Lungfish
Species: Dipterus valenciennesi
Age: 385 mya | middle Devonian 
Formation: Caithness Flagstones Group; Achanarras Fish Bed Member
Locality: Achanarras Quarry, Caithness, Scotland
First appearance: Diabolepis speratus was found 416 million years ago in China

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Cool idea for a collection, and great presentation showing the comparison between the fossil and "living fossil".  Well done Andy! 

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Great assemblage and how its presented.  Cool specimens

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fossilsonwheels

Excellent collection and presentation Andy. Very informative and some impressive specimens. 

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Great thread, Andy!

Excellent photos. Thanks for showing us. :) 

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I didn’t realize that some of those were living fossils. Learned something new this morning so it will be a good day. Thanks for sharing! 

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  You have a heck of a nice collection of fishes.  Very very impressive! 

 

RB

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Incredible collection, the rays are my favorite, its cool how you can see "feet" even though they are fish.

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thelivingdead531

Great post! I love fossil fish and this was very informative. That is quite a collection that I could only dream of having!

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Mioplosus_Lover24

I love this!

 

Though the comparison of Nematonotus longispinus to modern flagfish is more convergent evolution rather than a direct relation.

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Thanks for the comments everyone! I am happy to have shared my collection

 

On 31/10/2020 at 7:14 PM, FossilNerd said:

I didn’t realize that some of those were living fossils. Learned something new this morning so it will be a good day. Thanks for sharing! 

 

You are welcome. I learnt quite a bit myself when compiling the info!

 

On 01/11/2020 at 7:29 AM, thelivingdead531 said:

Great post! I love fossil fish and this was very informative. That is quite a collection that I could only dream of having!

 

Well you never know! I once thought some of the fishes here like the lamprey and bichir were impossible to get too

 

16 minutes ago, Mioplosus_Lover24 said:

I love this!

 

Though the comparison of Nematonotus longispinus to modern flagfish is more convergent evolution rather than a direct relation.

 

Thanks. Nematonotus is a member of the Aulopidae family, the flagfins so they are directly related

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Mioplosus_Lover24
30 minutes ago, -Andy- said:

Thanks. Nematonotus is a member of the Aulopidae family, the flagfins so they are directly related

Can you DM me how you learned this, I was not aware of Nematonotus having a lineage, in my books it says it has no living relatives.

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34 minutes ago, Mioplosus_Lover24 said:

Can you DM me how you learned this, I was not aware of Nematonotus having a lineage, in my books it says it has no living relatives.

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260338865_Goatley_et_al_2010_Paleobiology_supplemental_material

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematonotus

http://fossilworks.org/?a=taxonInfo&taxon_no=220157

 

Here you go

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gigantoraptor

This is an amazing collection. Very well presented and those pictures are extremely well done:envy:

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