Today, my latest paper investigating a 400 million year old fish, has been published in the journal eLife. Together with my colleagues from Australia, the UK, Sweden, and the Netherlands, we have studied and uncovered new information about an enigmatic fish known as ‘Ligulalelpis’.
There are just two specimens of this fish’s skull known, and we have examined both of them using microCT to view the internal anatomy in addition to the external features. By doing so, we have settled a 20 year controversy surrounding this animal, and identified it as belonging just below the major radiation of all modern fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals (that’s 98% of all vertebrate species alive today!) on the evolutionary family tree.
In addition to the eLife article, you can read a piece written by John Long and myself for The Conversation, including some lovely images from Brian Choo.
Figure. A, the new skull viewed from above (dorsal view); B, life reconstruction of ‘Ligulalepis‘; and C, the position of ‘Ligulalepis‘ in the evolutionary family tree. (Photo and animation below, Ben King; Illustrations, Brian Choo.)
***ALSO: below is a short video with John and myself, talking about ‘Ligulalepis‘, filmed by Yaz Dedovic at Flinders University Paleontology Labs, Adelaide.