Lists of prehistoric fish

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Haikouichthys, from about 518 million years ago in China, may be the earliest known fish.[1]

Prehistoric fish are early fish that are known only from fossil records. They are the earliest known vertebrates, and include the first and extinct fish that lived through the Cambrian to the Quaternary. The study of prehistoric fish is called paleoichthyology. A few living forms, such as the coelacanth are also referred to as prehistoric fish, or even living fossils, due to their current rarity and similarity to extinct forms. Fish which have become recently extinct are not usually referred to as prehistoric fish.

Categories of prehistoric fish[edit]

Groups of various prehistoric fishes include:

Jawless fish[edit]



Cartilaginous fish[edit]

Basal ray-finned fish[edit]

Modern ray-finned fish (Teleosts)[edit]

Lobe-finned fish[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shu, D-G., Conway Morris, S., Han, J.; et al. (January 2003). "Head and backbone of the Early Cambrian vertebrate Haikouichthys". Nature. 421 (6922): 526–529. Bibcode:2003Natur.421..526S. doi:10.1038/nature01264. PMID 12556891.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

Other reading[edit]

  • Janvier, Philippe (1998) Early Vertebrates, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854047-7
  • Long, John A. (1996) The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5438-5

External links[edit]