Acanthodian Devonian Fossil Fish Climatius from Scotland
Order Acanthodiformes, Family Cliamtidae
Time: Lower Devonian (375 Million years ago)
Achanarras Slate Quarry, Caithness, Scotland
The Acanthodians are jaw-bearing fish who still are the subject
of dispute over their systematic position. They possessed highly-advanced,
spindle-shaped bodies thought to have made them swift swimmers.
The body was covered in small mosaic-like scales. They possessed
small teeth which were typically
confined to the lower jaw; some were toothless. The feature they
all share in common is the fact that all fins other than the caudal
are supported by massive spines formed of dentine. Indeed, the name
Acanthodii is derived from the Greek word for spine.
oldest acanthodian lived during the late Ordovician. They reached
their peak during the Devonian, and became extinct during the Great
Dying of the end-Permian extinction. This well-preserved example
is known as Climatius; the genus died out in the upper Devonian.
As is typical, the most prominent feature to be seen here are the
diagnostic spines. Climatius had a total of four pairs between the
pectoral and pelvic fins, most of which can be seen here.
fossil pictures to enlarge
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