Friday, May 22, 2009

Top 10 new species unveiled by ASU

ASU's International Institute for Species Exploration unveiled the 'top 10' new species out of 18,516 discovered in 2007, as part of the State of Observed Species report issued yesterday.

One is a Devonian fish fossil [right] which is the oldest known vertebrate found to give live birth. From the ASU SOS report site:

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.

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