Australian paleontologists reconstructed an ancient fish starting from its 400 million-year-old fossils found at Lake Burrinjuck dam, at the head of the Murrumbidgee River, north of Brindabellas, in New South Wales.
This prehistoric Australian fish belonged to the placoderms group, a family of fish characterized by their armored bodies. The ancient Australian fish was named Brindabellaspis, after the region where its fossils were found.
Brindabellaspis is a weird ancient fish
According to the researchers from the Australian National University and Flinders University, the Brindabellaspis fossils are dating from the Denovian Period, with about 175 million years before the emergence of the first dinosaurs on the surface of Earth.
The fossils, found in the north of Brindabellas, are part of a site which is renowned for housing remains of the oldest fish species and the world’s best-preserved tropical ancient coral reefs.
According to Dr. Gavin Young, who unearthed the first fossils of this ancient fish, Brindabellaspis is the weirdest prehistoric Australian fish ever found because “it doesn’t really fit in anywhere.”
“It has a very weird and unexpected skull shape with a long snout and the possible capacity to use electrical reception to find animals in the soft mud at the sea bottom,” Dr. Young added.
The marine fauna that inhabits tropical coral reefs was different hundreds of millions of years ago
The study on this fish was issued in the journal Royal Society Open Science by Benedict King, the leading study’s author from the Australian National University, Dr. Gavin Young, and researcher John Long from the Flinders University.
According to the before-mentioned researchers, there are visible significant differences between tropical coral reefs ecosystems from one period to another.
“Although coral reefs have always been diversity hotspots, the groups of animals making up the ecosystems have changed drastically. Brindabellaspis, for example, is a placoderm [armored fish]. Placoderms were the dominant fish group, followed by lungfishes. Modern reefs, on the other hand, are dominated by teleost fish, a group that first appeared around 230 million years ago,” explained Benedict King.
Both placoderms fish, such as the Brindabellaspis prehistoric Australian fish, and lungfishes are extinct now.