Australian scientists have discovered a very unusual fish that lived more than 380 million years ago. The animal had sharp teeth and long flippers that it used as limbs. It can also breathe air, which is very rare for fish.
Fish fossils were found in Australia in 1973. This part of the world looked very different 385 million years ago. The researchers wrote that there are already rivers in which fish can swim Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Scientists were not able to identify the animal until fifty years later and give it a place in the animal kingdom. The fish has now been named Harajicadectes zhumini. This means something like “a bite of harajika”, after the place in Australia where the fossils were found. It may be a common ancestor of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Harajicadectes was about 40 cm long, but was probably the apex predator in its area. Its relatively large mouth contains several rows of sharp teeth and large canines.
The two large slits on the top of his head are eye-catching. He probably used that to breathe when he surfaced. This would make the fish one of the first animals that could breathe air.
The fish also had remarkably long fins, which functioned almost like arms and legs. He may even be able to understand things with it. Mammals often have hands and feet, but it is very rare in other species.
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