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Lobe Finned Fishes



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Sarcopterygii (/ˌsɑːrkɒptəˈrɪi./; from Ancient Greek σάρξ (sárx) 'flesh', and πτέρυξ (ptérux) 'wing, fins') — sometimes considered synonymous with Crossopterygii (from Ancient Greek κροσσός (krossós) 'fringe') — is a taxon (traditionally a class or subclass) of the bony fishes whose members are known as lobe-finned fishes. The group Tetrapoda, a superclass including amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs and therefore birds), and mammals, evolved from certain sarcopterygians; under a cladistic view, tetrapods are themselves considered a group within Sarcopterygii.

The known living non-tetrapod sarcopterygians include two species of coelacanths and six species of lungfishes.


Guiyu oneiros, the earliest-known bony fish, lived during the Late Silurian, 419 million years ago).[1] It has the combination of both ray-finned and lobe-finned features, although analysis of the totality of its features places it closer to lobe-finned fish.[2][3][4]

Early lobe-finned fishes are bony fish with fleshy, lobed, paired fins, which are joined to the body by a single bone.[5] The fins of lobe-finned fishes differ from those of all other fish in that each is borne on a fleshy, lobelike, scaly stalk extending from the body. The scales of sarcopterygians are true scaloids, consisting of lamellar bone surrounded by layers of vascular bone, dentine-like cosmine, and external keratin.[6] The morphology of tetrapodomorphs, fish that are similar-looking to tetrapods, give indications of the transition from water to terrestrial life.[7] Pectoral and pelvic fins have articulations resembling those of tetrapod limbs. The first tetrapod land vertebrates, basal amphibian organisms, possessed legs derived from these fins. Sarcopterygians also possess two dorsal fins with separate bases, as opposed to the single dorsal fin of actinopterygians (ray-finned fish). The braincase of sarcopterygians primitively has a hinge line, but this is lost in tetrapods and lungfish. Many early sarcopterygians have a symmetrical tail. All sarcopterygians possess teeth covered with true enamel.

Most species of lobe-finned fishes are extinct. The largest known lobe-finned fish was Rhizodus hibberti from the Carboniferous period of Scotland which may have exceeded 7 meters in length. Among the two groups of extant (living) species, the coelacanths and the lungfishes, the largest species is the West Indian Ocean coelacanth, reaching 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length and weighing up 110 kg (240 lb). The largest lungfish is the African lungfish which can reach 2 m (6.6 ft) in length and weigh up to 50 kg (110 lb).[8][9]


Taxonomists who subscribe to the cladistic approach include the grouping Tetrapoda within this group, which in turn consists of all species of four-limbed vertebrates.[10] The fin-limbs of lobe-finned fishes such as the coelacanths show a strong similarity to the expected ancestral form of tetrapod limbs. The lobe-finned fishes apparently followed two different lines of development and are accordingly separated into two subclasses, the Rhipidistia (including the Dipnoi, the lungfish, and the Tetrapodomorpha which include the Tetrapoda) and the Actinistia (coelacanths).


The classification below follows Benton (2004),[11] and uses a synthesis of rank-based Linnaean taxonomy and also reflects evolutionary relationships. Benton included the Superclass Tetrapoda in the Subclass Sarcopterygii in order to reflect the direct descent of tetrapods from lobe-finned fish, despite the former being assigned a higher taxonomic rank.[11]

A modern coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae


The cladogram presented below is based on studies compiled by Janvier et al. (1997) for the Tree of Life Web Project,[15] Mikko's Phylogeny Archive[16] and Swartz (2012).[17]




Actinistia (coelacanths)


Styloichthys changae Zhu & Yu, 2002




Dipnoi (lungfishes)


?†Tungsenia paradoxa Lu et al., 2012


Kenichthys campbelli Chang & Zhu, 1993












Tinirau clackae Swartz, 2012


Platycephalichthys Vorobyeva, 1959


Panderichthys rhombolepis Gross, 1941






Metaxygnathus denticulus Campbell & Bell, 1977


Ventastega curonica


Tetrapoda s.s.

Life restoration of Sparalepis tingi and other fauna from the Silurian of Yunnan.


Evolution of lobe-finned fishes
Spindle diagram for the evolution of lobe-finned fishes, tetrapods and other vertebrate classes[20]
In Late Devonian vertebrate speciation, descendants of pelagic lobe-finned fish—like Eusthenopteron — exhibited a sequence of adaptations: Descendants also included pelagic lobe-finned fish such as coelacanth species.
Tooth from the sarcopterygian Onychodus from the Devonian of Wisconsin

Lobe-finned fishes (sarcopterygians) and their relatives the ray-finned fishes (actinopterygians) comprise the superclass of bony fishes (Osteichthyes) characterized by their bony skeleton rather than cartilage. There are otherwise vast differences in fin, respiratory, and circulatory structures between the Sarcopterygii and the Actinopterygii, such as the presence of cosmoid layers in the scales of sarcopterygians. The earliest fossils of sarcopterygians were found in the uppermost Silurian, about 418 Ma (million years ago). They closely resembled the acanthodians (the "spiny fish", a taxon that became extinct at the end of the Paleozoic). In the early–middle Devonian (416–385 Ma), while the predatory placoderms dominated the seas, some sarcopterygians came into freshwater habitats.

In the Early Devonian (416–397 Ma), the sarcopterygians split into two main lineages: the coelacanths and the rhipidistians. Coelacanths never left the oceans and their heyday was the late Devonian and Carboniferous, from 385 to 299 Ma, as they were more common during those periods than in any other period in the Phanerozoic. Coelacanths of the genus Latimeria still live today in the open (pelagic) oceans.

The Rhipidistians, whose ancestors probably lived in the oceans near the river mouths (estuaries), left the ocean world and migrated into freshwater habitats. In turn, they split into two major groups: lungfish and the tetrapodomorphs. Lungfish radiated into their greatest diversity during the Triassic period; today fewer than a dozen genera remain. They evolved the first proto-lungs and proto-limbs, adapting to living outside a submerged water environment by the middle Devonian (397–385 Ma).

Hypotheses for means of pre-adaption

There are three major hypotheses as to how lungfish evolved their stubby fins (proto-limbs).

Shrinking waterhole
The first, traditional explanation is the "shrinking waterhole hypothesis", or "desert hypothesis", posited by the American paleontologist Alfred Romer, who believed that limbs and lungs may have evolved from the necessity of having to find new bodies of water as old waterholes dried up.[21]
Inter-tidal adaption
Niedźwiedzki, Szrek, Narkiewicz, et al. (2010)[22] proposed a second, the "inter-tidal hypothesis": That sarcopterygians may have first emerged unto land from intertidal zones rather than inland bodies of water, based on the discovery of the 395 million-year-old Zachełmie tracks in Zachełmie, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Poland, the oldest discovered fossil evidence of tetrapods.[22][23]
Woodland swamp adaption
Retallack (2011)[24] proposed a third hypothesis is dubbed the "woodland hypothesis": Retallack argues that limbs may have developed in shallow bodies of water, in woodlands, as a means of navigating in environments filled with roots and vegetation. He based his conclusions on the evidence that transitional tetrapod fossils are consistently found in habitats that were formerly humid and wooded floodplains.[21][24]
Habitual escape onto land
A fourth, minority hypothesis posits that advancing onto land achieved more safety from predators, less competition for prey, and certain environmental advantages not found in water—such as oxygen concentration,[27] and temperature control[29] — implying that organisms developing limbs were also adapting to spending some of their time out of water. However, studies have found that sarcopterygians developed tetrapod-like limbs suitable for walking well before venturing onto land.[32] This suggests they adapted to walking on the ground-bed under water before they advanced onto dry land.

History through to the end-Permian extinction

The first tetrapodomorphs, which included the gigantic rhizodonts, had the same general anatomy as the lungfish, who were their closest kin, but they appear not to have left their water habitat until the late Devonian epoch (385–359 Ma), with the appearance of tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates). Tetrapods are the only tetrapodomorphs which survived after the Devonian.

Non-tetrapod sarcopterygians continued until towards the end of Paleozoic era, suffering heavy losses during the Permian–Triassic extinction event (251 Ma).

See also


  1. ^ The Osteolepida taxa were not addressed by Ahlberg & Johanson (1998).


  1. ^ a b Zhao, W.; Zhang, X.; Jia, G.; Shen, Y.; Zhu, M. (2021). "The Silurian-Devonian boundary in East Yunnan (South China) and the minimum constraint for the lungfish-tetrapod split". Science China Earth Sciences. 64: 1784–1797. doi:10.1007/s11430-020-9794-8. S2CID 236438229.
  2. ^ Zhu, M.; Zhao, W.; Jia, L.; Lu, J.; Qiao, T.; Qu, Q. (2009). "The oldest articulated osteichthyan reveals mosaic gnathostome characters". Nature. 458 (7237): 469–474. Bibcode:2009Natur.458..469Z. doi:10.1038/nature07855. PMID 19325627. S2CID 669711.
  3. ^ Coates, M.I. (2009). "Palaeontology: Beyond the age of fishes". Nature. 458 (7237): 413–414. Bibcode:2009Natur.458..413C. doi:10.1038/458413a. PMID 19325614. S2CID 4384525.
  4. ^ "Pharyngula – Guiyu oneiros". Science Blogs (blog). 1 April 2009. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012.
  5. ^ Clack, J.A. (2002). Gaining Ground. Indiana University.
  6. ^ Kardong, Kenneth V. (1998). Vertebrates: Comparative anatomy, function, evolution (second ed.). USA: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-115356-X. ISBN 0-697-28654-1
  7. ^ Clack, J.A. (2009). "The fin to limb transition: New data, interpretations, and hypotheses from paleontology and developmental biology". Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 37 (1): 163–179. Bibcode:2009AREPS..37..163C. doi:10.1146/annurev.earth.36.031207.124146.
  8. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Lepidosirenidae" in FishBase. January 2009 version.
  9. ^ "Protopterus aethiopicus". Fishing-worldrecords.com. Lung fishes. Archived from the original on 3 August 2011.
  10. ^ Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-25031-9.
  11. ^ a b Benton, M.J. (2004). Vertebrate Paleontology (3rd ed.). Blackwell Science.
  12. ^ Haeckel, Ernst Heinrich Philipp August (1892). Lankester, Edwin Ray; Schmitz, L. Dora (eds.). The History of Creation, or, the Development of the Earth and Its Inhabitants by the Action of Natural Causes (8th, German ed.). D. Appleton. p. 289. A popular exposition of the doctrine of evolution in general, and of that of Darwin, Goethe, and Lamarck in particular.
  13. ^ Amemiya, C.T.; Alfoldi, J.; Lee, A.P.; Fan, S.H.; Philippe, H.; MacCallum, I.; Braasch, I.; et al. (2013). "The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution". Nature. 496 (7445): 311–316. Bibcode:2013Natur.496..311A. doi:10.1038/nature12027. hdl:1912/5869. PMC 3633110. PMID 23598338.
  14. ^ Lu, Jing; Zhu, Min; Long, John A.; Zhao, Wenjin; Senden, Tim J.; Jia, Liantao; Qiao, Tuo (2012). "The earliest known stem-tetrapod from the lower Devonian of China". Nature Communications. 3: 1160. Bibcode:2012NatCo...3.1160L. doi:10.1038/ncomms2170. PMID 23093197.
  15. ^ Janvier, Philippe (1 January 1997). "Vertebrata: Animals with backbones". tolweb.org (Version 01 January 1997 (under construction) ed.). The Tree of Life Web Project.
  16. ^ Haaramo, Mikko (2003). "Sarcopterygii". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. University of Helsinki. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  17. ^ Swartz, B. (2012). "A marine stem-tetrapod from the Devonian of western North America". PLOS ONE. 7 (3): e33683. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...733683S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033683. PMC 3308997. PMID 22448265.
  18. ^ Choo, Brian; Zhu, Min; Qu, Qingming; Yu, Xiaobo; Jia, Liantao; Zhao, Wenjin (8 March 2017). "A new osteichthyan from the late Silurian of Yunnan, China". PLOS ONE. 12 (3): e0170929. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1270929C. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170929. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 5342173. PMID 28273081.
  19. ^ "Ancient southern China fish may have evolved prior to the 'Age of Fish'". ScienceDaily.com (Press release). PLoS. March 2017. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  20. ^ Benton 2005. sfn error: no target: CITEREFBenton2005 (help)
  21. ^ a b "Fish-tetrapod transition got a new hypothesis in 2011". Science 2.0. 27 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  22. ^ a b Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz; Szrek, Piotr; Narkiewicz, Katarzyna; Narkiewicz, Marek; Ahlberg, Per E. (2010). "Tetrapod trackways from the early Middle Devonian period of Poland". Nature. 463 (7277): 43–48. Bibcode:2010Natur.463...43N. doi:10.1038/nature08623. PMID 20054388. S2CID 4428903.
  23. ^ Barley, Shanta (6 January 2010). "Oldest footprints of a four-legged vertebrate discovered". New Scientist. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  24. ^ a b Retallack, Gregory (May 2011). "Woodland hypothesis for Devonian tetrapod evolution". Journal of Geology. University of Chicago Press. 119 (3): 235–258. Bibcode:2011JG....119..235R. doi:10.1086/659144. S2CID 128827936.
  25. ^ Carroll, R.L.; Irwin, J.; Green, D.M. (2005). "Thermal physiology and the origin of terrestriality in vertebrates". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 143 (3): 345–358. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2005.00151.x.
  26. ^ a b Hohn-Schulte, B.; Preuschoft, H.; Witzel, U.; Distler-Hoffmann, C. (2013). "Biomechanics and functional preconditions for terrestrial lifestyle in basal tetrapods, with special consideration of Tiktaalik roseae". Historical Biology. 25 (2): 167–181. doi:10.1080/08912963.2012.755677. S2CID 85407197.
  27. ^ Carroll, Irwin, & Green (2005),[25] cited in[26]
  28. ^ Clack, J.A. (2007). "Devonian climate change, breathing, and the origin of the tetrapod stem group" (PDF). Integrative and Comparative Biology. 47 (4): 1–14. doi:10.1093/icb/icm055. PMID 21672860.
  29. ^ Clack (2007),[28] cited in[26]
  30. ^ King, H.M.; Shubin, N.H.; Coates, M.I.; Hale, M.E. (2011). "Behavioural evidence for the evolution of walking and bounding before terrestriality in sarcopterygian fishes". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 108 (52): 21146–21151. Bibcode:2011PNAS..10821146K. doi:10.1073/pnas.1118669109. PMC 3248479. PMID 22160688.
  31. ^ Pierce, S.E.; Clack, J.A.; Hutchinson, J.R. (2012). "Three-dimensional limb joint mobility in the early tetrapod Ichthyostega". Nature. 486 (7404): 523–526. Bibcode:2012Natur.486..523P. doi:10.1038/nature11124. PMID 22722854. S2CID 3127857.
  32. ^ King (2011),[30] cited in[31]
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Sarcopterygii: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

Sarcopterygii (/ˌsɑːrkɒptəˈrɪdʒi.aɪ/; from Ancient Greek σάρξ (sárx) 'flesh', and πτέρυξ (ptérux) 'wing, fins') — sometimes considered synonymous with Crossopterygii (from Ancient Greek κροσσός (krossós) 'fringe') — is a taxon (traditionally a class or subclass) of the bony fishes whose members are known as lobe-finned fishes. The group Tetrapoda, a superclass including amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs and therefore birds), and mammals, evolved from certain sarcopterygians; under a cladistic view, tetrapods are themselves considered a group within Sarcopterygii.

The known living non-tetrapod sarcopterygians include two species of coelacanths and six species of lungfishes.

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visit source
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