Prepared in advance. How ray-finned fish survived the mass extinction 360 million years ago

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Prepared in advance. How ray-finned fish survived the mass extinction 360 million years back

A new study proves that this species was not as badly affected by the mass extinction as previously thought.

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Ray-finned fish are currently one of the most diverse groups of vertebrates in the world. Previously, scientists assumed that the ancestors of ray-finned fish seized the opportunity after the mass extinction of many species 360 million years ago, but this does not seem to be entirely true, writes Sci Tech Daily.

It is known that the mass extinction ended the Devonian period 360 million years ago and seriously affected the number and appearance of fish that inhabited the seas and oceans at that time.

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Today, fish with radiant fins are widespread – they can often be found in home aquariums and even on the table. Previously, scientists assumed that the success of these fish was due to the fact that they managed to survive the mass extinction, but new data suggest that representatives of this species began to prepare for drastic climate changes in advance.

In a new study, scientists have turned their attention to a long-forgotten specimen that was discovered by scientists more than a century ago. The tiny Palaeoneiros clackorum fossil had not attracted the attention of scientists until now because of its size – only 55 millimeters. However, everything has changed with the development of technology.

Prepared in advance. How ray-finned fish survived the mass extinction 360 million years ago

Prepared in advance. How a ray-finned fish survived the mass extinction 360 million years ago

Researchers re-examined the specimen using computed tomography, and as a result, they were able to look inside the tiny skull and find features that indicate that the ancestors of ray-finned fish seem to have begun to transform long before the mass extinction.

It turned out that the ancestors of ray-finned fish began “their” transformation long before it became outwardly noticeable. Scientists now speculate that the species not only survived by luck, but “prepared” for the coming changes.

According to study lead author Dr. Sam Giles, the new study shows that ray-finned fish do not just “hit” a handful of survivors, but are also able to tell about diversification and survival from one period to another.

Note that now scientists plan to focus on studying long-forgotten fossils that could not previously be sufficiently studied from -for insufficient development of technology.