New flying fish fossils discovered in China


New flying fish fossils found in China provide the earliest evidence of vertebrate over-water gliding strategy.

Chinese researchers have tracked the “exceptionally well-preserved fossils” to the Middle Triassic of China (235-242 million years ago).

The Triassic period saw the re-establishment of ecosystems after the Permian mass extinction.

The fossils represent new evidence that marine ecosystems re-established more quickly than previously thought.

The Permian mass extinction had a bigger impact on the earth’s ecological systems than any other mass extinction, wiping out 90-95% of marine species.

Previous studies have suggested that Triassic marine life developed more quickly than was once thought and that marine ecosystems were re-established more rapidly than terrestrial ecosystems.

The new research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal, was carried out by scientists from Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History.

Written By: BBC News
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  1. Another example of evolution filling a niche where one presents its self!

    A good video of their modern equivalent too!

  2. I recently read a wonderful book called “The Making of The Fittest” by Sean Carroll.  First off, it was a fantastic read and the depth of each and every example was awesome.  Second, the description provided for the evolution of the ice fish (which is bloodless) is breathtaking.  This fossil find reminded me of the ice fish and gives me the opportunity to talk about evolution (Which I absolutely love to do) and a great book (which i absolutely love to do).

  3. That’s a very interesting looking fossil. Unfortunately it’s only 153 mm long. I would have wished that it had been 2-3 meter long. 

  4. @rdfrs-1bf4b10b058cd14143bf1c9caeb5fe83:disqus  Good to see you back in the discussions.I think flying fish are a fine example of  existing structures – fins –  being modified for a new function in response to selection pressure.

    It is also interesting to see puffins and penguins where the reverse process has evolved.http://

  5. @rdfrs-ac813758aaddac228f677a9a36b5573e:disqus Hey man!!!  Thanks for welcoming me back!  I have been enlisted to teach CHEMISTRY for a semester instead of my beloved Biology.  Anyway, it has usurped all my time.  I am finally back on my feet as far as time management is concerned and (hopefully) will be sticking around for a while.

    This process you highlight, the modification of existing structures in response to selection pressure was brilliantly used in the court case in Dover Pa (Kitzmiller vs Dover).  The testimony  of Ken Miller smashes the idea of irreducible complexity.  I strongly urge everyone to watch the Nova special entitled “Intelligent Design on Trial” and experience for yourself the carnage!

    Evolutionary Biologists call this idea exaptation and there are so so so many examples out there to find and experience.

  6. I know Sean Carroll from his excellent articles and lectures on Astrophysics.  Hadn’t realized he’s ventured into evolution.  I’ll have to check the book out.

  7. I love these smaller ‘flat’ fossils, I have an archaeopteryx copy on my wall and have been searching for another to go with it. I hope it’s not too long before a replica of this one is available. It looks like an H.R Giger creation. 

  8. @rdfrs-1bf4b10b058cd14143bf1c9caeb5fe83:disqus  Evolutionary Biologists call this idea exaptation and there are so so so many examples out there to find and experience.

    One interesting illustration of this is the Cactus Mammillaria plumosa where the spines have evolved into feather-like structures to give shade, protection from the wind, and to collect water droplets. (I used to have one in my botanical collection before it succumbed to the English climate. )

    Mammillarias are native to the Americas where some are known as Fish-hook Cactus.  They are a large genus having quite a diverse range of spination showing stages of evolution including woolly, and in the case of plumosa feathery variations in the spination.

    Unlike feather evolution on Dinosaurs/birds, Cacti are a young branch in evolution so these must have evolved quite quickly.

  9. Aztek
    That’s a very interesting looking fossil. Unfortunately it’s only 153 mm long.
    I would have wished that it had been 2-3 meter long.

    Ah well!  Because of weight to surface area ratios,  when it comes to flight, size matters! –  so tiny spiders can fly without wings, and elephant-size creatures could not fly even if they had wings!

  10. One interesting  feature illustrated, is the capacity of the evolving vertebrate pectoral bones to become longer and stronger. 

    Only very weak bones are needed in some swimming fish, while those which walk on the sea-bed need slightly stronger ones  (coelacanth – http://ngm.nationalgeographic….  )

    In amphibious fish such as Mudskippers –… – the fins are strong enough for them to climb out of the water.

    Mudskippers can be seen walking and feeding on land in this video:-
    The pectoral fin-bones in the flying-fish are longer and stronger (as in the parallel evolution of bats and birds), but clearly have evolved independently of those of walking fish.

  11.  With all the discoveries being made in China these days, I’m surprised the creationists aren’t dismissing them as fakes. After all, how can we believe in “evidence” produced by a bunch of godless Commies?

    Human footprints among those of dinosaurs, on the other hand, are absolutely genuine!

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