About Euphanerops cf longaevus Devonian fossil fish Scotland
Euphanerops cf. longaevus is a fish with a most unusual body plan. There are three black spots at the head which are regarded as remains of the eyes and nasal organ. Much of the body is flanked by a long branchial apparatus reminiscent of the cephalochordate Amphioxus. It possessed a hypocercal caudal fin akin to lampreys. Uniquely among known vertebrates, this fish possessed paired anal fins.
Age and Distribution
Euphanerops cf. longaevus Devonian fossil fish Scotland is from the Middle Devonian of Scotland. This fish lived approximately 385 million years ago. At the time this area of Scotland was part of the Orcadian Basin, which was a huge complex of lakes that stretched for hundreds of miles. During this period plants started to rapidly colonize the land and fishes dominated nearly every niche of seas and lakes, hence why this period is also known as the “Age of Fishes”. Euphanerops cf. longaevus inhabited the lake with other fishes like the acanthodians Mesacanthus and Diplacanthus, the osteolepid Osteolepis, the lungfish Dipterus, the porolepid Glyptolepis, the enigmatic Paleospondylus gunni, and the placoderms Coccosteus, Pterichtyodes, Rhamphodopsis and Homostius.
About the Eupaneropidae Euphanerops cf longaevus
The Euphaneropidae are some of the most unusual early vertebrates because their anatomy is quite unlike other fossil and living vertebrates. Little is known about this group of fish at the moment because the fossils are composed almost entirely of soft-tissues, limiting our understanding of the fossils, and have only been found in Scotland and Canada.
Despite having about 4 times as many gills, Euphaneropidae are classically allied to anaspids, or even regarded as belonging to this group, because of the naked body and hypocercal caudal fin.