Primitive fish with 'butt fins' reveals evolution's quirky path
An evolutionarily unique "paired anal fin" suggests that evolution experimented with various wacky body plans, only some of which survived.
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The discovery changes the view of how fishes were evolving at this time, Sansom said.Skip to next paragraph
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"Rather than gradual acquisition of complex characteristics, maybe there was a bit more experimentation and odd acquisitions," he said.
"It might just be the first vestige, it might be some kind of precursor to generating paired fins" that are commonly seen throughout jawed vertebrates, Coates told LiveScience.
But it's also possible they were a specialized trait that only Euphanerops possessed, not reflective of the evolutionary history of jawed vertebrates as a whole, Coates said.
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