Fishy Tales  - things to learn from fish fossils

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Fishy Tales - things to learn from fish fossils

armour plated fish

Let the rocks tell their story
What fish teeth from 110 million years ago can tell us?
What a fish vertebra (backbone) from 110 million years ago tell us?

shape of fish teeth as guide to it's food

The Story - what can we learn from fossil fish teeth?

Teeth  first appeared in the fish. They may be considered fundamental building blocks for  vertebrates..
shape of tooth indicates it's use
Shape of a tooth indicates it's use..

The agnathans (jawless fish)
The earliest known true teeth are found in the Late Silurian in

acanthodians (extinct spiny sharks)

actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes).

At this time,

placoderms (extinct armoured fish)

also had tooth-like structures on their jaws but...
True Teeth
True teeth were developed by
osteichthyan fish
crossopterygians fringe finned fish

holocephalans and

bradyodont (cochliodont) sharks

some lungfish

.What fish teeth from 110million years ago can tell us...

fossil fish jaw
Size of jaw and shape of teeth suggest this carviverous fish caught something small (it is small itself) and slippery (hence the "hooked" teeth)
The small fragments in the matrix include scales,  teeth and bone fragments and give us an idea of what food sources could be around

What a fish vertebra (backbone)  from 110million years ago tell us?

fish vertebrae
The size of the backbone in this case can give us an idea of the size of the fish, maybe even it's approximate length
In the matrix surrounding the fossil at this site were possible stomach contents  - a record of what that fish ate ... written in the stone with the fossilised remains of  scales, bones and squid claws

source  from the collection of Earth Science Australia
            John Long The Long History of Australian Fish Fossils p337-428, in  P. Vickers-Rich et al Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australasia1996