Fossils of a new species of carnivorous fish that lurked ancient rivers have been discovered in the Canadian Arctic as per a new study.
It was the research scientists at Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago who have reported the discovery of the new species of ancient fish. Research funding came from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.
The fish species was described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and the discovery have been named Laccognathus Embryi. It had a wide head, small eyes and large sharp teeth and probably grew up to 6 feet long
The fish is 375 million years old and had 1.5-inch-long (3.8-centimeter-long) fangs.
Laccognathus embryi was the kind of fish that was waiting to lunge out to grab whatever was in front of it, said study co-author Ted Daeschler, a vertebrate zoologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.
It was during several excavations in a siltstone flood deposit on Ellesmere Island (see map) in Nunavut, Canada that Daeschler and colleagues found the new fish fossils.
In the same arctic site in 2004 Tiktaalik roseae, a fossil creature that lived during the same period as L. embryo, was discovered. Tiktaalik roseae is considered to be a crucial link between fish and early limbed animals.
Laccognathus embryi lived during the Devonian period.
The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic Era spanning from the end of the Silurian Period, about 416.0 million years ago till the beginning of the Carboniferous Period, about 359 million years ago. It is named after Devon, England, where rocks from this period were first studied.
During the Devonian Period the first ray finned and lobe-finned bony fish evolved. The pectoral and pelvic fins of lobe-finned fish evolved into legsas they started to walk on land as tetrapods around 397 million years ago. Various terrestrial arthropods also became well-established.
The Devonian was a relatively warm period, and probably lacked any glaciers. The Devonian period was a time of great tectonic activity, as Euramerica and Gondwana drew closer together.
Sea levels in the Devonian were generally high. Marine faunas continued to be dominated by bryozoa, diverse and abundant brachiopods, the enigmatic hederelloids, microconchids and corals. Dunkleosteus is a prehistoric fish, one of the largest arthrodire placoderms ever to have lived, existing during the Late Devonian period, about 380-360 million years ago. This hunter, measured up to 33 ftand weighed 3.6 tonnes.
L. embryi was a lobe-finned fish.
Lobe-finned fishes or the Sarcopterygii constitute a clade of the bony fishes, though a strict classification would include the terrestrial vertebrates. Early sarcopterygians are bony fish with fleshy, lobed, paired fins, which are joined to the body by a single bone.
Pectoral and pelvic fins have articulations resembling those of tetrapod limbs. These fins evolved into legs of the first tetrapod land vertebrates, amphibians.
In the Early Devonian, the sarcopterygians split into two main lineages namely the coelacanths and the rhipidistians. The former never left the oceans and their heyday was the late Devonian and Carboniferous as they were more common during those periods than in any other period in the Phanerozoic. The coelacanth still lives today in the oceans.