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ESF Top 10 New Species Links


Devonian Delivery

Top 10 New Species of 2009

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Photos courtesy of John A. Long

Name: Materpiscis attenboroughi

Common Name: Mother Fish

Family: Ptyctodontidae

How it made the Top 10:This new species is the oldest known vertebrate to be viviparous (live bearing). The fossilized specimen is an extremely rare find,showing a mother fish giving birth approximately 380 million years ago. The holotype specimen has been nicknamed "Josie" in honor of John Long's mother, who recently passed away.

Reference: Long, J.A., K. Trinajstic, G.C. Young & T. Senden. 2008. Live birth in the Devonian period. Nature 453(7195): 650–652.

Type material: "WAM 07.12.1 (Western Australian Museum, Perth)."

Type locality: "From the Stromatoporoid camp locality, Gogo Station, near Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia (Late Devonian, early Frasnian)."

Etymology: "Generic name from the Latin meaning ‘mother fish’; species name in honour of Sir David Attenborough, who first drew attention to the Gogo fish sites in his 1979 series Life on Earth."