species random images

Top 10 - 2009

Devonian Delivery

Photos courtesy of John A. Long

Name: Materpiscis attenboroughi

Common Name: Mother Fish

Family: Ptyctodontidae

How it made the Top 10: This new species is the oldest known vertebrate to be viviparous (live bearing).  The fossilized specimen is an extremely rare find, showing a mother fish giving birth approximately 380 million years ago.  The holotype specimen has been nicknamed "Josie" in honor of John Long's mother, who recently passed away. 

Reference: Long, J.A., K. Trinajstic, G.C. Young & T. Senden. 2008. Live birth in the Devonian period. Nature 453(7195): 650–652.

Type material: "WAM 07.12.1 (Western Australian Museum, Perth)."

Type locality: "From the Stromatoporoid camp locality, Gogo Station, near Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia (Late Devonian, early Frasnian)."

Etymology: "Generic name from the Latin meaning ‘mother fish’; species name in honour of Sir David Attenborough, who first drew attention to the Gogo fish sites in his 1979 series Life on Earth."

<< Previous | Next >>